The ripple effect of the revelations of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden's revelation continues its effect in the technology industry. IBM has joined the list of technology companies calling for reforms in the ways how government collects information.
In an open letter to consumers on Friday, IBM has denied any involvement with the Prism program of the U.S. government. and called for necessary changes.
"IBM has not provided client data to the National Security Agency (NSA) or any other government agency under the program known as PRISM. IBM does not put "backdoors" in its products for the NSA or any other government agency, nor does IBM provide software source code or encryption keys to the NSA or any other government agency for the purpose of accessing client data," wrote IBM's senior vice president for legal and regulatory affairs Robert Weber.
The company also added that it has not provided customer data to the government for any surveillance program or shared stored abroad to the government requested through a court orders or letters. However, the company stated that it will still comply with local laws in countries where it operates.
IBM has reiterated the stand of other technology companies such as Facebook, Google, and Yahoo that the government must act accordingly in order to restore people's trust.
Aside from rejecting short-sighted government policies that promote protectionist tendencies and call for everyone to support encryption and other technologies that will protect data, the company also called for productive debates that may improve the current situation.
"The U.S. government should have a robust debate on surveillance reforms, including new transparency provisions that would allow the public to better understand the scope of intelligence programs and the data collected," IBM stated.
The company sees data as the next most important resources that society has today in order to change and improve lives. However, governments should work hard to make sure that the public can trust new technologies.
In December, a coalition of technology giants such as Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, and Yahoo called on governments to respect privacy and reform surveillance practices across the globe.
As the Obama administration allowed broad disclosure of national security letters to consumers, the same group of companies were univocal in February in asking for more transparency about data requests of authorities. A massive protest dubbed as "The Day We Fight Back" was also launched the same month, when companies, thousands of websites, and individuals called and emailed lawmakers to seek reforms in the surveillance programs of the government.
Controversies stemming from NSA activities continue to pop up. The latest is the snooping of the British intelligence, allegedly with the help of NSA, on Yahoo video chats, including when chatters were nude. Even Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has called the president to ask for changes in its surveillance programs after news came out that the NSA has a website that masquerades as the social network and collects personal information of its users.