So the Internet companies have finally realised that the damage done to their interests by the NSA is serious enough to flush them out into open opposition. Jeff Jarvis has an astute Guardian comment post which points out that some important companies are missing from the lost if potential refusniks.
Please note who is missing from the list – the signators are Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Microsoft, Aol, Apple, LinkedIn. I see no telecom company there — Verizon, AT&T, Level 3, the companies allegedly in a position to hand over our communications data and enable governments to tap straight into internet traffic. Where is Amazon, another leader in the cloud whose founder, Jeff Bezos, now owns the Washington Post? Where are Cisco and other companies whose equipment is used to connect the net and by some governments to disconnect it? Where are the finance companies — eBay, Visa, American Express — that also know much about what we do?
The reason the Telcos are not in the list is that they have always been part of the national security system, so they’re unlikely to discover civil liberties anytime soon. In Britain, for example, I remember a time when anyone who worked for British Telecom — even in lowly capacities — had to sign the Official Secrets Act. Why? Because they might be instructed to tap someone’s (analog) phone. For all I know, it may still be a requirement for employment by BT.