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EFF shuns GNI over group's NSA links

Will not stand shoulder to shoulder with gagged peers
Fri Oct 11 2013, 10:57

DIGITAL RIGHTS ORGANISATION the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is leaving the Global Network Initiative (GNI), saying that it cannot remain in it with the knowledge that it includes firms that have compromised themselves for the US National Security Agency (NSA).

The EFF announced its resignation from the privacy information dissemination organisation in a letter. It has also published the letter online.

The EFF said that it cannot be part of the same group as firms who have admitted that they work with the NSA but cannot bring themselves to talk about it.

"We know that many within the industry do not like or approve of such government interference, and GNI has, in statements, made it clear that member companies want permission from the US government to engage in greater transparency," said EFF international director Danny O'Brien and director for international freedom of expression Jillian York.

"However, until serious reforms of the US surveillance programs are in place, we no longer feel comfortable participating in the GNI process when we are not privy to the serious compromises GNI corporate members may be forced to make. Nor do we currently believe that audits of corporate practice, no matter how independent, will uncover the insecurities produced by the US government's - and potentially other governments' - behavior when operating clandestinely in the name of national security."

Members of the GNI include Microsoft and Google, firms that have admitted that their lips are partially sealed when it comes to national security disclosures. The letter said that such internet companies have had their security compromised by "dramatic government interference".

"Documents publicized in the last few weeks related to NSA surveillance have highlighted just how dramatic government interference with internet companies' security practices has been," it added.

"As a result, EFF longer no believes we can sign our name onto joint statements that rely on shared knowledge of the security of company products or their internal processes." µ


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