11.14.14

Broad Coalition of Stakeholders Line Up In Support Of NSA Reform Ahead Of Key Senate Vote Next Week

WASHINGTON (Friday, November 14, 2014) – Privacy advocates, technology leaders, and reformers from across the political spectrum are urging the Senate to take up and pass the USA FREEDOM Act of 2014 next week.  Senators are expected to vote on a procedural motion Tuesday on the bipartisan legislation.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the author of the bipartisan bill to end the government’s dragnet collection of phone records, is urging Senators to act ahead of next year when key provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act are set to expire.

“I thank the Majority Leader for bringing this legislation to the floor next week.  Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act expires on June 1, and our intelligence officials are asking for operational certainty.  Likewise, the American people are asking us to protect their privacy,” Leahy said.  “It is time to show the American people that Congress is about more than talking points, sound bites, and the next campaign.  It is time to get back to work, and to pass the USA FREEDOM Act.”

Leahy introduced the USA FREEDOM Act of 2014 in July with bipartisan cosponsors including Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).  Leahy has also worked closely with Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), who earlier this week said “There is no excuse not to pass this fundamental piece of legislation during the lame duck.”

An outline of the USA FREEDOM Act of 2014 can be found here, and text of legislation can be found online.  A list of supporters of the legislation can also be found online.

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Bipartisan Stakeholders Agree: The Time Is NOW for the USA FREEDOM Act of 2014

“Senators should approve the bill and send it to the House before the 113th Congress passes into history.”

Los Angeles Times (editorial, November 14)

  • “The Reform Government Surveillance coalition applauds the Senate for taking up the USA Freedom Act, which will help restore trust in the Internet by ending the government’s bulk Internet metadata collection and increasing transparency around U.S. surveillance practices.” Reform Government Surveillance Coalition (statement)
  • “Americans want meaningful reform to protect the Fourth Amendment, and it’s time for Congress to take clear action without watering down key protections in this bill.” FreedomWorks (blog post)

 

  • “This bill would begin to restore that trust and strengthen not only our privacy but our security. There is no reason to continue a program that vacuums up the data of innocent Americans without any proven counterterrorism benefit.” Brennan Center for Justice (release)

 

  • “Our surveillance programs must be reformed to restore the public’s trust that personal privacy concerns are properly balanced with national security interests. The USA Freedom Act does this by ending bulk collection of telephone and Internet metadata, improving transparency and allowing for greater oversight when government requests access to personal data for national security purposes. We strongly urge Senators to act now to pass this important legislation.” BSA | The Software Alliance (release)
  • “There are few remaining legislative days left to allow a vote on the bill so that it can become law. Failure to move the bill in the lame duck session will leave some tough questions for the new Senate to deal with in 2015.” ACLU (blog post)

 

  • “We need strong and decisive reforms of the nation’s intelligence gathering programs to restore trust in American companies and preserve our national competitiveness.”  Consumer Electronics Association (release)
  • “The U.S. surveillance revelations are having a corrosive impact on the public’s trust in our government and on perceptions of the independence of U.S. technology companies. The choice couldn’t be more clear and we strongly urge the Senate to seize this opportunity and pass surveillance reform without further delay.”  Information Technology Industry Council (release)

 

  • “The Internet Association is pleased with the Senate’s decision to vote on the USA Freedom Act, which aims to end government’s bulk Internet metadata collection and increase transparency around government’s surveillance practices. Passage of this important legislation will strengthen Internet users’ trust and ensure their confidence in the Internet.” The Internet Association (release)

 

  • “The USA FREEDOM Act is a good first step towards successful surveillance reform. It will limit the NSA's program collecting Americans' calling records, introduce a special advocate into the secretive court overseeing the spying, and introduce much needed transparency requirements…EFF urges the Senate to pass the bill without any amendments that will weaken it.” Electronic Frontier Foundation (statement)

 

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