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Tech Giants Call for Controls on Gov't Snooping

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Eight major tech giants have called for tighter controls on government surveillance, joining forces to argue there should be reforms in the way the United States snoops on people.
 
The companies, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, issued an open letter to President Barack Obama, saying that while governments have a duty to protect citizens, recent revelations have "highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide."
 
The letter published today says: "The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual -- rights that are enshrined in our Constitution."
 
The letter follows revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked details of the secret programs that critics say violate privacy rights.
 
Meanwhile resports say British and American intelligence officers have been spying on gamers across the world, deploying undercover officers to virtual universes and sucking up traffic from popular online games such as World of Warcraft.
 
Stories carried today in The New York Times, the Guardian, and ProPublica suggested that U.S. and U.K. spies have spent years hunting the fictitious worlds of Second Life and World of Warcraft looking for terrorists or informants.
 
Important details -- such as how much data was gathered, or how many players' information was compromised -- were not clear, the reports said.
 
The reports were based on documents provided by Edward Snowden, a former contract employee of the U.S. National Security Agency.
 
The British intelligence agency GCHQ, which monitors communications, did not immediately comment.  (AP)

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