A broad coalition of civil society organizations, trade associations and tech companies has joined The Constitution Project in backing legislation aimed at curbing bulk collection of American’s telephone and internet records by the National Security Agency and providing greater transparency of policies underlying government surveillance programs.
In a letter delivered to Congressional leaders on November 21, the members of the coalition welcomed the introduction of the USA Freedom Act (S.1599/H.R.3361) and opposed legislation to codify sweeping bulk collection activity. TCP endorsed the legislation when it was first introduced.
NSA domestic surveillance and bulk collection of telecommunication metadata has “already eroded trust that is essential to the free flow of information and to the exercise of human rights and civil liberties both in the United States and around the world,” the groups wrote. The groups said passage of the USA Freedom Act would “protect the privacy of Internet users while permitting appropriately targeted intelligence surveillance necessary to protect against terrorism.”
Companies signing the letter include Dropbox, Hewlett-Packard, Meetup, Mozilla and Tumblr. In addition to TCP, privacy and civil liberties advocates joining the letter include American Library Coalition, ACLU, Center for Democracy and Technology, Competitive Enterprise Institute, FreedomWorks, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Reporters Without Borders and The Rutherford Institute.