Leahy’s USA FREEDOM Act Gains Early Support And Praise

WASHINGTON (THURSDAY, July 31, 2014) -- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) welcomed the support among stakeholders for bipartisan legislation he introduced this week to help restore Americans’ privacy rights by ending the government’s dragnet collection of phone records and requiring greater oversight, transparency, and accountability with respect to domestic surveillance authorities. 

“This is a debate about Americans’ fundamental relationship with their government – about whether our government should have the power to create massive databases of information about its citizens. We need to get this right, and we need to get it done without further delay,” Leahy said. “I am glad to be joined by a broad coalition of supporters who are committed, as I am, to enacting meaningful reforms this year.”

The USA FREEDOM Act of 2014 has 15 cosponsors in the Senate and has earned the praise from a variety of stakeholders, including a broad coalition of more than 40 privacy and advocacy organizations who in a letter sent to Congressional leaders Wednesday called the legislation “an important first step toward necessary comprehensive surveillance reform.” The groups’ letter, which calls for Congressional action without delay, can be found online. A full list of supports of the USA FREEDOM Act of 2014 can also be found online

Broad Support for the USA FREEDOM Act of 2014


“[T]he bill represents a breakthrough in the struggle against the growth of government surveillance power. The Senate should pass it without further dilution.” New York Times (Editorial, July 28)


  • “This new version of the USA FREEDOM Act would be a significant step forward in protecting Americans from unnecessary and intrusive NSA surveillance.” Center for Democracy and Technology (release)
  • “This legislation is an important step toward restoring public trust in the underpinnings of the digital economy. It significantly improves privacy protections for the public by ending bulk collection of telephone and Internet metadata, improving transparency and allowing for greater oversight when government accesses personal data for national security purposes.” BSA | The Software Alliance (release)
  • “This new, stronger version of the USA FREEDOM Act would go a long way toward stemming the costs of the NSA’s spying programs and restoring trust in the American Internet industry, by prohibiting bulk records collection and providing substantially more transparency around the NSA’s surveillance programs.” New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute (OTI) (release)
  • We commend the Senate Democratic and Republican co-sponsors of this version of the USA Freedom Act, which significantly constrains the out-of-control surveillance authorities exposed by Edward Snowden.” American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) (release)


  • We urge Congress to act in a bipartisan fashion and swiftly pass the USA FREEDOM Act.  Without it, the open and borderless Internet that our innovation economy depends on will be at risk and the tech sector will continue to feel significant economic impacts that directly translate into lost American jobs.” Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) (release)
  • “In the next few weeks, the Senate has the opportunity to demonstrate leadership and pass a version of the USA Freedom Act that would help restore the confidence of Internet users here and around the world, while keeping citizens safe.” Reform Government Surveillance (letter)
  • This would be the first significant restriction Congress has placed on intelligence agencies’ ballooning spy apparatus since 9/11.” Brennan Center for Justice (release)


  • If Congress enacts Senator Leahy’s bill in its current form, it will mark the most significant reform of US intelligence gathering since the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, enacted in the 1970s in response to the Church Committee’s revelations of abusive spying practices on political dissidents and activists.” David Cole, professor, Georgetown University Law Center (New York Review of Books blog post)

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