Large Coalition Of Tech Companies And Advocacy Groups Demand Greater Transparency About NSA Surveillance
from the let-us-be-transparent dept
A large coalition of tech companies (including big ones like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Dropbox, Apple and AOL -- as well as small like... us here at Floor64) and advocacy groups/trade organizations (including the ACLU, EFF, CDT, CCIA, Engine, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Public Knowledge, Public Citizen and many more) have come together to support a move by Congress to allow much more transparency when it comes to government surveillance efforts. There's both the issue of general support for Congress being explicit in allowing tech companies to reveal information about government requests for info, and, more specifically, support for a couple of important bills introduced in Congress:
Specifically, we write to voice our strong support for S. 1452, the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013, and H.R. 3035, the Surveillance Order Reporting Act of 2013, each of which would clarify that companies have the right to publish basic statistics about the government demands for user data that they receive. We urge the Committees to hold hearings on the issue of surveillance transparency as a prelude to the markup of these bills.There are many, many things that need to happen in response to the revelations of the NSA's activities. This is just one minor step in a much bigger process, but it's an important one. The ability of the federal government to gag companies when it requests information is a huge violation of free speech rights and the basic right of the public to know what their government is doing on their behalf.
Many of the undersigned organizations and companies previously wrote a letter to you and other leaders in Congress and the Administration on July 18th, asking for legislation that would require more comprehensive transparency reporting by the government and allow for more comprehensive transparency reporting by US companies that receive national security–related information requests. We are thankful that Senator Franken, working with eleven cosponsors including Chairman Leahy, and Representative Lofgren, as part of a bipartisan coalition of nine cosponsors including Ranking Member Conyers and Representatives Poe and Chaffetz, were able to so quickly respond to the pressing need for more transparency around the US government’s national security surveillance efforts. Such transparency is important not only for the American people, who are entitled to have an informed public debate about the appropriateness of that surveillance, but also for international users of US-based service providers who are concerned about privacy and security