The companies said that revelations about the extent of government surveillance had undermined public trust, and put forward a plan to regulate online spying.
The campaign, led by Google and Microsoft, is a rare instance of eight of Silicon Valley’s highly competitive arch rivals presenting a united front.
A website “reform government surveillance” was launched and full-page adverts showing the open letter to President Obama were printed in US national newspapers on Monday.
The coalition wrote: “The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favour of the state and away from the rights of the individual rights that are enshrined in our constitution. This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It’s time for change.”
The publication of the letter follows some of the companies making technical changes to their services, including using encrypted software, so that users’ data is kept more secure.
Since revelations from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the companies have been at pains to convince the public that they have not willingly handed over their users’ data to the US government when requested.
The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favour of the state and away from the rights of the individual rights that are enshrined in our constitution.Tech coalition
Larry Page, CEO, Google said: “The security of users’ data is critical, which is why we’ve invested so much in encryption and fight for transparency around government requests for information. This is undermined by the apparent wholesale collection of data, in secret and without independent oversight, by many governments around the world.”
The coalition also includes Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, AOL and LinkedIn.
The letter added: “We urge the US to take the lead and make reforms that ensure that government surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent and subject to independent oversight.”