When you use the Internet, you entrust your online conversations, thoughts, experiences, locations, photos, and more to companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook. But what happens when the government asks these companies to hand over your private information? Will the company stand with you? Will it tell you that the government is looking for your data so that you can take steps to protect yourself?
It’s often up to the companies to decide whether to stand with their users.
While some Internet companies have stepped up for users in particular situations, it’s time for all companies who hold your private data to promise to do so. Sign our petition to urge leading Internet companies to:
Promise to inform users when their data is sought by the government
Internet companies should promise to tell users when their data is being sought by the government and give users a chance to defend themselves, unless prohibited by law — like Twitter promises to do and did in the Wikileaks investigation.
Be transparent about when you hand over data to the government
Companies should publish reports on how often they provide user data to governments worldwide, like Google does. These reports should include all demands that can be disclosed under the law. Companies should also make public the policies they have about sharing data with the government such as guides for law enforcement, like Twitter does.
Fight for users’ privacy rights in the courts and in Congress
Companies should resist overbroad demands, like Yahoo did recently, and should disclose no more information than required by law. Internet companies should support efforts to modernize electronic privacy laws to defend users in the digital age, like the Digital Due Process Coalition members do.
Users shouldn’t be left in the dark. They have a right to know when the government is seeking their data and deserve a chance to stand up for themselves. But they can’t do it unless companies are willing to make a commitment take a stand with them. As stewards of our digital lives, companies need to promise to be transparent and help users fight for stronger, clearer protections and standards in the law.
Already signed? Click to see how the companies are doing.