On June 27, a diverse coalition of organizations sent a letter urging Senators to include strong privacy protections in any new cybersecurity bill the Senate considers in 2013. The groups noted in the letter that recently disclosed NSA spying programs “clearly illustrate that the government will interpret any surveillance laws aggressively, and that any new legislation…must include robust and meaningful privacy safeguards to avoid intrusions into our civil liberties and constitutional rights.”
The groups urged the Senate to consider the safeguards contained in Title VII, the information sharing title, of last year’s Cybersecurity Act (S. 3414) to be “the privacy floor, and not the ceiling, for any cybersecurity legislation.” Among the safeguards the groups urge are: oversight by a civilian agency; a requirement that companies make reasonable efforts to remove unrelated personally identifiable information before sharing information with the government; and “robust oversight” of the government’s use of the information it receives, including independent audits. The letter cautions that these recommendations represent the minimum necessary to protect Americans’ civil liberties and ensure their privacy.
In addition to The Constitution Project, signatories include the American Civil Liberties Union, American Library Association, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, CREDO Action, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Liberty Coalition, Mozilla, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, PEN American Center, Reddit, TechFreedom and U.S. PIRG.