Tech giants make final push to change NSA

Some of the nation’s largest technology companies are urging the Senate to pass legislation to end the National Security Agency’s most controversial program.

Google, Apple, Facebook and seven other major companies told lawmakers in an open letter late Sunday to pass the USA Freedom Act when it comes up for a procedural vote on Tuesday.

The bill “both protects national security and reaffirms America’s commitment to the freedoms we all cherish,” wrote the companies, which have joined forces as the Reform Government Surveillance Coalition.

“Now is the time to move forward on meaningful change to our surveillance programs,” the firms added.

The USA Freedom Act would end the NSA’s bulk collection of records about Americans’ phone calls and allow tech companies to disclose more details about the records they give to the government, among other changes. Tech companies have said the added transparency is crucial to restore trust among users around the world.

The other members of the Reform Government Surveillance Coalition are AOL, Twitter, Microsoft, Yahoo, Dropbox, LinkedIn and Evernote.

In addition to the tech companies, the bill has the support of lawmakers in both parties, many privacy advocates and the Obama administration.

Yet it faces tough odds ahead of a Tuesday vote and might not be able to overcome a filibuster.

The bill has been criticized for alternately handicapping American spy agencies and for being too soft on the NSA.

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulOvernight Defense: Congress poised for busy week on nominations, defense bill | Trump to deliver Naval Academy commencement speech | Trump administration appeals decision to block suspected combatant's transfer Democrats mull audacious play to block Pompeo Overnight Defense: Trump steps up fight with California over guard deployment | Heitkamp is first Dem to back Pompeo for State | Dems question legality of Syria strikes MORE (R-Ky.), for instance, has said he will vote against the bill because it is not strong enough. Meanwhile, Sen. Saxby ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissLobbying World Former GOP senator: Let Dems engage on healthcare bill OPINION: Left-wing politics will be the demise of the Democratic Party MORE (R-Ga.) — one of the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee — has said its measures are too restrictive.