In the wake of criticism of various NSA programs, Obama promised in January reform of the programs, including the bulk collection of telephone records. The president also proposed creating the position of a privacy advocate in the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court who would argue in cases involving permission for accessing personal data. Currently, only U.S. agencies seeking surveillance orders appear before the court.
"There remains a fundamental truth about legal disputes: a judge who hears only one side of a case is less likely to render a just result," wrote Smith, who also demanded that the government commit not to hack data centers and cables and continue to increase transparency.
The stake for Internet companies in the surveillance debate appeared to grow when China attacked Google and Apple this week as a potential cybersecurity threats to Chinese users. Other major tech companies, such as Yahoo, Cisco, Microsoft and Facebook, were required by the NSA to transfer their users' information, reported the state-controlled People's Daily, quoting cybersecurity experts.
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