"We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens. But this summer’s revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide," the letter read. "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. This undermines the freedoms we all cherish. It’s time for a change."
The companies also reiterated their commitment to keeping users' data secure. Microsoft has already taken steps toward ramping up the encryption of its Internet traffic after a report said the National Security Agency had hacked into Yahoo and Google data centers.