Tech firms push Congress for transparency on NSA surveillance
Google, Facebook, Apple and other companies call on Congress to move quickly on NSA legislation
IDG News Service - The U.S. Congress must act quickly on legislation that would make electronic data collection efforts by the U.S. National Security Agency more public, a group of tech firms, civil liberties groups and other organizations said Monday.
Internet and telecommunications companies that receive data collection and surveillance requests from the NSA should "have the right to publish basic statistics about the government demands for user data," the coalition said in a letter to the judiciary committees in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
The letter endorsed two pieces of legislation, the Surveillance Transparency Act in the Senate and the Surveillance Order Reporting Act in the House, both of which would allow companies to publish information about the number of surveillance requests they receive from U.S. agencies. The Senate bill is sponsored by Senator Al Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, with 11 co-sponsors, including Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, and the House bill is sponsored by Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, with nine co-sponsors.
The Senate bill would require the U.S. government to issue annual public reports on surveillance requests made through the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Companies receiving surveillance requests could publish numbers every six months.
The House bill would allow Internet firms and telecoms to report the number of surveillance requests they receive every three months.
Companies signing Monday's letter included AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter and Yahoo. Other organizations signing on were the American Civil Liberties Union, BSA, Consumer Action, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla, Public Knowledge and TechFreedom. Some of the tech companies signing on to the letter have previously asked the government to allow them to report surveillance request numbers.
Lawmakers have introduced more than 20 bills focused on reforming government surveillance efforts in recent months, after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked details about massive data collection and surveillance programs at the NSA. The Center for Democracy and Technology detailed 20 bills in a list released Sept. 12, and since then, four senators introduced another bill, called the Intelligence Oversight and Surveillance Reform Act, which would outlaw the NSA's bulk collection of U.S. telephone records.
In addition, Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said last week she plans to introduce a bill that would largely allow current NSA data collection practices to continue. The bill would add transparency to the process, Feinstein said, but it would also allow the NSA to continue collecting the communications of terrorism suspects who enter the U.S. for seven days while authorities seek court-ordered warrants.
- Top 12 Laptop Bags for Mobile Pros
- Think Deleted Text Messages Are Gone Forever? Think Again
- 7 New Faces of the C-suite
- 5 Ways CIOs Can Rationalize Application Portfolios
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Six Ways Your Small Business Can Save with Internet Phone Service Traditional phone systems present two main problems for businesses: limited features and high costs. As a result, small businesses are migrating to Internet...
- IDC Report: The Future of eMail is Social This paper discusses the changing nature of collaboration and work fueled by the social Web by examining current email trends and the emergence...
- The Business of Social Business Social business represents a significant transformational opportunity for organizations. Read this whitepaper to learn more.
- The cloud: inevitable, but not ubiquitous It's an age old question for those considering cloud: where do I start? But with all the hype surrounding the cloud, that's not...
- Supercharge Your Web and Mobile App Development with High-Productivity Hybrid Cloud Webinar: Hear from industry experts about the amazing power at the intersection of next-generation web and mobile application development and cloud platforms.
- Leveraging the Cloud for Dev/Test This video discusses some of the key considerations that IT organizations should take into account when moving test and development projects to the... All Internet White Papers | Webcasts