Press Releases and Statements
USA FREEDOM Act Draws Bipartisan Praise
Legislation To End Dragnet Collection Of Phone Data Earns Early Praise
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.), chairman of the Crime and Terrorism Subcommittee in the House, welcomed the broad support among stakeholders for legislation they introduced this week that would end the government’s dragnet collection of phone records and require greater oversight, transparency and accountability with respect to domestic surveillance authorities.
“The breadth of support for our bipartisan, bicameral legislation demonstrates that protecting Americans’ privacy not only cuts across the party divide, but also addresses concerns raised by the technology industry and other advocates,” Leahy and Sensenbrenner said in a joint statement. “The time is now for serious and meaningful reform. We are committed to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to get this done so we can restore confidence in our intelligence community and protect the privacy rights of our citizens.”
The USA FREEDOM Act has over 100 cosponsors in the House and Senate and dozens of supporters including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Rifle Association, the Project on Government Oversight and several technology companies including Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, Google, LinkedIn and Mozilla.
Early Support For The USA FREEDOM Act
“We are two veteran lawmakers who believe now is the time for that reform and for a meaningful discussion about protecting privacy and national security in the 21st century. We are not alone,” Leahy & Sensenbrenner op-ed (Politico, Oct. 29)
• “The Freedom Act takes an important step toward rebuilding user trust by adding limitations on government collection of data in the name of national security. The idea is simple. The NSA should not have a blank check to access user data from technology companies.” Mozilla (release)
• “Transparency is a critical first step to an informed public debate, but it is clear that more needs to be done. Our companies believe that government surveillance practices should also be reformed to include substantial enhancements for privacy protections and appropriate oversight and accountability mechanisms for those programs. ” Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, Google, and LinkedIn (letter)
• “BSA commends Chairman Leahy and Chairman Sensenbrenner for introducing this important legislation… It is critical that we restore the public’s trust by improving transparency and showing the world that the United States is striking the right balance between national security needs and individual privacy,” BSA | The Software Alliance (release)
• “The introduction of the USA Freedom Act is a vital and positive step forward in establishing a net set of policies to govern how the federal government collects data and the tech industry’s role in complying with government information requests,” Information Technology Industry Council (release)
• “We hope the upcoming legislative process will fill this void and provide the insights to undertake the major reforms that are now clearly necessary. I commend the Leahy/Sensenbrenner legislation for this beginning. It is vital to reform and properly focus our current surveillance system,” Ed Black, the chief executive officer of the Computer & Communications Industry Association (release)
• “Is it really better for us to think that things have gone so far with the post-9/11 idea that any spying that can be done should be done and that nobody thought to inform President Obama about tapping the phone of one of the most important American allies?” New York Times editorial (Oct. 29)
• “Public outrage has only grown [as] Americans learned more about the shocking, unprecedented invasions of their privacy by their government. The Freedom Act is a critical first step to reign in the unchecked, unconstitutional excesses of our government,” Caledonian-Record editorial (Oct. 31)
• “It is noteworthy that protection of our privacy rights is a cause shared by liberals and conservatives. The supporters of Leahy’s bill include a spectrum of senators that stretches from Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, to Mike Lee, Republican of Utah,” Rutland Herald editorial (Nov. 1)