Washington – Leading technology companies and associations sent a joint letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte today supporting surveillance reform. The Computer & Communications Industry Association strongly recommends modifying the surveillance powers authorized by Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act so as to improve privacy protections and increase transparency.
Specifically, the letter recommends narrowing Section 702’s definition of so-called “foreign intelligence information”, requiring judicial oversight for government queries of U.S. person communications, and codifying the NSA’s recent changes to “about” collection under Section 702’s Upstream program. Additionally, with the aim of increasing oversight and transparency, the letter recommends allowing companies to disclose in more detail the kind and number of surveillance requests they receive, while requiring the government to be more transparent in tracking and disclosing how the communications of U.S. persons are collected, queried, and used under Section 702.
The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:
“The fast-approaching sunset of FISA’s section 702 surveillance authority makes this the right time to question whether the current rules strike the right balance between addressing legitimate national security concerns and appropriately protecting individual rights and U.S. economic security.
“In a free and strong democracy, it is critical to have both transparency and judicial oversight of government surveillance powers to ensure that there are effective checks and balances on governmental power. It is vitally important that the U.S. and other countries and economies that respect individuals’ rights to privacy and expression be a model for the world. Countries like Russia and China are all too eager to expand surveillance without considering civil liberties, but others need our freedom model to follow.”
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