Google, Twitter, Microsoft support protest over NSA surveillance

A Code Pink protester wears giant glasses with the message "Stop Spying" at a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C.
(Jim Watson / AFP/Getty Images)

Google, Twitter and Microsoft were among the nation’s tech companies who lent their support to an anti-spying protest Tuesday that urged Congress to restrict the National Security Agency’s powers.

The Day We Fight Back” campaign, formally supported by civil liberties groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and websites, including Reddit, aims to end “mass surveillance -- of both Americans and the citizens of the whole world,” according to a news release from the coalition.

Several websites connected to the campaign included banners urging U.S. citizens to call and email Congress to oppose the NSA’s bulk surveillance of phone records and emails.

The coalition said more than 51,000 calls and 107,000 emails had gone to Congress through its banner as of Tuesday afternoon.


“Today we’re proud to support The Day We Fight Back, to end mass surveillance,” social-media service Twitter’s public policy team said in a tweet Tuesday.

Search giant Google reportedly sent emails to users who previously supported NSA reforms and urged them to “demand a change.”

“Google recognizes the very real threats that the U.S. and other countries face, but we strongly believe that government surveillance programs should operate under a legal framework that is rule-bound, narrowly tailored, transparent, and subject to oversight,” Susan Molinari, Google’s vice president of public policy, wrote in a statement.

Molinari, like many of the Day We Fight Back’s supporters, urged Congress to pass the USA Freedom Act, which would add restrictions to the government’s ability to conduct electronic surveillance.


The bill was introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and has 130 cosponsers, both Republicans and Democrats.

Microsoft took note of the protest, with a company representative urging the U.S. government to cut back on its spying.

“People won’t use technology they don’t trust,” Frederick S. Humphries Jr., a Microsoft vice president of government affairs, wrote in a blog post Tuesday. “Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it. Microsoft will keep advocating for change until that day comes, and in the meantime will continue to take direct action to protect our customers.”

Tuesday’s protest was being tweeted under the hashtag #TheDayWeFightBack.