Broad Coalition Of Tech Companies, Nonprofit Groups Offers Support For The Leahy-Sensenbrenner USA FREEDOM Act

WASHINGTON –Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), coauthors of the USA FREEDOM Act to end dragnet collection of Americans’ phone records, Thursday welcomed the support of a broad coalition of technology companies, trade associations and nonprofit organizations that advocate “privacy protections, oversight and accountability mechanisms that govern” surveillance authorities.

In a letter to Leahy and Sensenbrenner, the group of nearly 60 signees including Hewlett-Packard, Dropbox and Tumblr outline their priorities to address privacy and transparency concerns raised by revelations of sweeping surveillance use. They call for legislation to allow companies to disclose surveillance requests, to provide greater transparency on government use of surveillance authorities, to focus intelligence gathering on foreign powers, and to protect constitutional and human rights. A copy of the letter is below and available online.

The USA FREEDOM Act, which Leahy and Sensenbrenner introduced last month, would end the dragnet collection of Americans’ phone records under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and ensure that other authorities cannot be used to justify similar dragnet collection. The bill also provides more safeguards for warrantless surveillance under the FISA Amendments Act.

The bill includes other significant privacy and oversight provisions, provides for the creation of a Special Advocate to focus on the protection of privacy rights and civil liberties before the FISA Court, and requires more detailed public reporting about the number and types of FISA orders that are issued.

The USA FREEDOM Act has over 115 cosponsors in the House and Senate and is supported by dozens of groups and businesses crossing the political spectrum. A full list of supporters can be found online

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