Google pushes for broad surveillance reforms

Google is pushing Congress to adopt multiple reforms to government surveillance.

In a blog post published on Tuesday, Google Vice President of Public Policy Susan Molinari repeated her company's calls to rein in the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance programs and update laws regarding government access to electronic communications.

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Specifically, Molinari pointed to the USA Freedom Act — authored by Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), which would end government bulk collection programs.

“Google recognizes the very real threats that the U.S. and other countries face, but we strongly believe that government surveillance programs should operate under a legal framework that is rule-bound, narrowly tailored, transparent and subject to oversight,” she wrote.

Molinari also called for an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

That 1986 law — which allows law enforcement officials to access electronic communications that are older than 180 days without a warrant — “no longer reflects users’ reasonable expectations of privacy,” Molinari wrote.

Congress should update the law “to require governmental entities to obtain a warrant before they can compel online companies to disclose the content of users’ communications,” she wrote.

Molinari cited bills from Leahy and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Senate and Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Tom Graves (R-Ga.).

“We will continue to press Congress to adopt these important measures, which would represent significant progress in the broader effort to reform government surveillance laws,” Molinari wrote.

Google is also part of a coalition of tech companies that have backed Tuesday’s online protest against government surveillance.