Senate Drops Controversial Internet Reporting Requirement From Intelligence Bill

BY Heather Greenfield
September 22, 2015


Washington – Senate leaders have removed a controversial reporting requirement from the Intelligence Authorization Act. The measure would have turned online communications companies into Internet police, making it mandatory for them to report evidence of any potential terrorist activity, which could have subjected many innocent people to government investigation. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., had placed a hold on the bill due to concerns about it.

Civil rights and industry groups including the Computer & Communication Industry Association sent a letter to Senate leaders in August voicing their concerns that making this reporting requirement mandatory. The measure would have led Internet companies to overreport, pursuant to a vague definition of “terrorist activity” and would have brought innocent people under the scrutiny of the U.S. government. In addition, the process had few limitations on the use of shared information or other safeguards.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“Placing the burden of searching customers’ communications for signs of terrorism on online companies would have a chilling effect on the Internet while encouraging well-intentioned companies to over-report data on law-abiding citizens. However it would have done little to achieve the results those proposing it were seeking. We once again thank Senator Wyden for his leadership and for championing the Internet as a communications tool. He successfully blocked the bill until his colleagues could gather more information on the limited likelihood of success versus the significant consequences of this approach.”


Related Articles

CCIA Welcomes Senate Finance Committee Leadership on EU Discriminatory Tech Regulation

Feb 1, 2022

Washington — In a letter to President Biden, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden and Ranking Member Mike Crapo raised concerns with forthcoming EU legislation the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act. The letter encouraged the Administration to engage with the EU, leveraging ongoing conversations through platforms like the U.S.-EU Tech & Trade…

CCIA Supports Efforts to Address Censorship Practices, Digital Trade Barriers in China Legislation

May 27, 2021

Washington, DC — The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) supports efforts by Senator Wyden and others to include language in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act to address foreign censorship practices and strengthen the ability of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to combat digital trade barriers. Foreign censorship practices by authoritarian regimes,…

European Commission Publishes Assessment on Takedown of Illegal Content

Jun 13, 2018

Brussels — The European Commission published today it’s “Progress Report towards an effective and genuine Security Union”. This report includes the first reporting following the publication in March of the Recommendation on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online. The Computer & Communications Industry Association shares the Commission’s goal of fighting illegal content online and…