Eight major U.S. technology companies, including Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Facebook Inc., are calling for tighter controls on how governments collect personal data, Reuters reported.


In an open letter to President Barack Obama and Congress, the companies said the balance has shifted too far in favor of the state in many countries and away from the individual. This comes after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden exposed secret government surveillance programs in June.


"We understand that governments have a duty to protect their citizens," the companies said in the letter. "But this summer's revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide.


"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."


Obama said last week that "the NSA actually does a very good job about not engaging in domestic surveillance, not reading people's emails, not listening to the contents of their phone calls," CNNMoney reported. "Outside of our borders, the NSA's more aggressive."