Washington – The Senate has taken a step towards meaningful surveillance reform in the final weeks of the 113th Congress, after the Senate moved closer to a vote on the USA FREEDOM Act.
The bipartisan bill, introduced by Congressman Sensenbrenner R-Wisc. and Senator Leahy D-Vt. earlier in the year, will begin the process of restoring Americans’ privacy rights by ending the government’s bulk collection of call records. The bill also includes substantial oversight and transparency mechanisms designed to ensure that domestic surveillance agencies and programs are held accountable.
The USA FREEDOM Act has a broad coalition of backers, including many in the Intelligence Community, privacy and civil liberties groups, and the tech industry—underscoring the importance of the included reforms.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association has fought the unreasonable expansion of government surveillance for more than a decade, again testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in December. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“The legal reforms in the USA Freedom Act send a clear signal to U.S. citizens and Internet users around the world that Congress is serious about reforming government surveillance practices, and providing the judiciary and the public with tools that allow better oversight over remaining narrowed programs. The USA Freedom Act closes key loopholes on bulk call data collection and offers greater transparency, which is essential for citizens in a free democracy.
“We applaud the Senate for beginning to take up this legislation. These reforms are a critical step toward restoring the public’s trust in both the tech sector and the US government. That trust is necessary for innovation and the continued success of the Internet and all it offers citizens and businesses around the world.”