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Tech Industry Speaks Out in Support of Bipartisan Surveillance Reform Bill

Technology Industry Groups Call for Swift Passage of Senate USA FREEDOM Act

WASHINGTON – Some of the most respected voices representing the technology industry joined together today calling on the Senate to pass bipartisan legislation to reform the nation’s surveillance laws. In a joint letter of support for S. 2685, the USA FREEDOM Act, the technology industry organizations noted the reforms are critical to restore public trust and stem negative economic implications for the technology sector in the wake of the Snowden revelations.

The letter addressed to Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell was sent by BSA, The Software Alliance; the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA); the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI); Reform Government Surveillance (RGS); and the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA); to every member of the Senate.

The letter can be viewed by clicking here, text of which is included below:

The Honorable Harry Reid

Majority Leader

522 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Republican Leader

317 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Majority Leader Reid and Republican Leader McConnell,

The undersigned trade associations and organizations, representing leaders in the technology sector, write to urge your support for the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act, S. 2685, introduced on July 29, 2014 by Senators Leahy, Franken, Lee, and Heller.

The revelations about the U.S. government’s surveillance programs that began in June of 2013 have led to an erosion of public trust in the U.S. government and the U.S. technology sector. In an effort to begin restoring that trust, the USA FREEDOM Act will prevent the bulk collection of Internet metadata, call detail records, and other tangible things in a manner that both enhances privacy and protects national security. We note that in a recent letter to Chairman Leahy, Attorney General Holder and Director of National Intelligence Clapper pointed out that the USA FREEDOM Act “enhances privacy and civil liberties and increases transparency” yet at the same time, it “preserves essential Intelligence Community capabilities.”

These reforms, among the others contained in the USA FREEDOM Act, will send a clear signal to the international community and to the American people that government surveillance programs are narrowly tailored, transparent, and subject to oversight.

As a result of the surveillance program revelations, U.S. technology companies have experienced negative economic implications in overseas markets. In addition, other countries are considering proposals that would limit data flows between countries, which would have a negative impact on the efficiencies upon which the borderless Internet relies. The transparency measures in the USA FREEDOM Act are designed to alleviate some of the concerns behind such actions by allowing companies to be more transparent about the orders they receive from the government pursuant to its surveillance authorities.

The surveillance reforms embodied in the USA FREEDOM Act are necessary to help restore public trust in both the U.S. government and the U.S. technology sector, as well as to continue the innovative and competitive success of the American tech sector in global markets.

We urge the Senate to act in a bipartisan fashion and swiftly pass the USA FREEDOM Act.

BSA | The Software Alliance

CCIA – Computer and Communications Industry Association

ITI – Information Technology Industry Council

RGS – Reform Government Surveillance

SIIA – Software and Information Industry Association

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