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Silicon Valley's Hypocrisy on Spying

Rather than target government surveillance, tech companies should self-correct

The logic of Silicon Valley sometimes works in strange ways. Take the public-relations campaign by a collection of high-profile technology companies: AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Twitter. In a Dec. 9 open letter to Congress and President Barack Obama, they called on the U.S. government “to take the lead” and curtail its digital surveillance.

There’s no small amount of self-interest animating this movement. Many of the companies involved acquiesced to government surveillance for years. They’re now finding their voices just as their reputations and bottom lines are threatened by bad publicity as revelations from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden continue to make news.