Tech giants use Patriot Act anniversary to push NSA reform

Leading tech companies are using Sunday’s 13th anniversary of the Patriot Act to push Congress to pass legislation reining in the National Security Agency (NSA).

“The anniversary of the signing of the USA Patriot Act is an important reminder that reforming outdated surveillance laws remains an outstanding ‘to do’ for Congress this year,” the Reform Government Surveillance coalition — which includes giants such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft — said in a statement on Friday.

{mosads}“Passage of the USA Freedom Act is critical to protecting our country’s national and economic security while also promoting privacy, transparency and trust in the Internet.”

The bill from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) would end the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records of U.S. calls, which is authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. It would also add a panel of civil liberties advocates to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and give tech companies more ways to disclose the government’s requests for data about their users.

It was won the support of lawmakers in both parties as well as the Obama administration and many civil liberties advocates, yet faces an uncertain fate in the Senate this year.

The 10-member Reform Government Surveillance coalition was founded nearly a year ago as a way for major companies to fight back against the snooping.

Programs at the NSA and other spy agencies have led to global distrust of American tech companies, which is expected to lead to tens of billions of dollars in profit losses.

Tags Patrick Leahy Patriot Act Reform Government Surveillance USA Freedom Act
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