Washington — In a 77-17 vote to invoke cloture, the Senate has paved the way for the passage of the USA FREEDOM Act later this week. Today also marks the the expiration of several provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act that currently enable bulk surveillance of call records, which should provide the impetus necessary for the Senate to ultimately send the USA FREEDOM Act’s necessary package of reforms and programmatic limitations to the President’s desk.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association has fought the unreasonable expansion of government surveillance for more than a decade. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“In moving this legislation forward, Congress and the public have had a more thorough and much needed debate on the parameters of acceptable surveillance in a democratic and free society than we have had in a long time. Congress should be commended for their bipartisan efforts to find acceptable compromises where easy answers are elusive.
“The USA Freedom Act contains some useful reforms, but it must only be the first step in an ongoing effort to monitor and reasonably limit the tendency to continually expand surveillance powers. It’s passage will send a clear signal to U.S. citizens and Internet users around the world that the U.S. has listened to surveillance concerns, and responded with more transparency and tools that allow improved oversight over the remaining targeted records program. These measures are crucial for citizens in free societies.
“For too long the government has enacted surveillance policies with only narrowly defined security and counterterrorism and in mind. This legislation will help balance these concerns with the importance of protecting the freedom of expression, of association and privacy that citizens in a free society expect and need, and that Internet users around the world deserve.”