BEIJING, Dec. 10 (Xinhuanet) -- Leading Internet companies called for new legal restrictions on government spy programs with increasing threat both to their customers' privacy and their own business interests.
"The U.S. government should take this opportunity to lead this reform effort and make things right," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Monday in a statement.
An open letter to the president and Congress, also endorsed by top executives at Apple, Google and other Internet giants, was sent.
"Recent revelations about government surveillance activities have shaken the trust of our users," said Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer.
"People won't use technology they don't trust. Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it," said Brad Smith, general counsel at Microsoft.
Analysts have estimated the industry could lose billions of dollars if consumers and businesses decide they can't trust U.S. companies with sensitive data.
Many of the companies have been beefing up their own technological defenses, including using advanced forms of encryption, since news leaks about the National Security Agency's collection of Internet users' data emerged over the summer.
Along with halting "bulk data collection" of Internet communications, the companies called for enacting "sensible limitations" on the government's authority to demand specific user files. They asked for more checks and balances, including independent court oversight of surveillance programs.
Tech leaders also outlined their recommendations in an open letter and website, including those from AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Linkedin, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.