[Libs-Or] INFORMATION: 30+ civil liberties groups, 9 top tech CEOs, call on Congress to get surveillance reform right

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Fri Jun 6 15:08:51 PDT 2014


30+ civil liberties groups, 9 top tech CEOs, call on Congress to get
surveillance reform right.
Posted on June 5, 2014 by Adam Eisgrau

As recently reported in District Dispatch
<http://www.districtdispatch.org/2014/05/warrant-needs-warrant/>, the
Senate Judiciary Committee is preparing to consider the latest House-passed
version of the USA FREEDOM Act later this month.  As that “markup” nears,
ALA and more than 30 other leading national civil liberties and pro-privacy
organizations have written to Majority Leader Harry Reid, Minority Leader
Mitch McConnell and to the Chairs and most senior minority members of the
Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

In the June 4 letter
ALA and its coalition partners point out that important privacy protection
features of the USA FREEDOM Act approved by the House Judiciary and
Intelligence Committees were stripped out or watered down in the final
version of the bill recently passed by the House.  As a result, among other
problems, it is not now clear whether the House-passed bill truly ends the
bulk collection of telephone record data as intended and claimed.  The
letter thus concludes:

In the past, Section 215 of the Patriot Act was secretly interpreted to
authorize a collection program far broader than the language of the section
appeared to permit. The current administration is now arguing that Congress
ratified its secret interpretation of that law based on secret
explanations, which the executive branch provided to Congress. It is
crucial that this time Congress and the public develop a complete
understanding of what is and is not being authorized before Congress votes
on the bill. We are confident that this can be achieved without
compromising matters which must be kept secret to protect national
security. We respectfully request that you take all necessary steps to do

In a related and very welcome development, today the CEOs of nine of the
nation’s most well-known and significant internet and technology companies
(including Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter) released their
own letter to all Members of the Senate
<https://www.reformgovernmentsurveillance.com/USAFreedomAct>.  It echoes
and underscores the concerns about the House’s version of the USA FREEDOM
Act raised in the organizations’ letter described above and concludes:

Confidence in the Internet, both in the U.S. and internationally, has been
badly damaged over the last year.  It is time for action.  As the Senate
takes up this important legislation, we urge you to ensure that U.S.
surveillance efforts are clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the
risks, transparent, and subject to independent oversight.

No date has yet been set for Senate Judiciary Committee consideration and
potential amendment of the USA FREEDOM Act but such action could well occur
in just two or three weeks.  Please watch District Dispatch for more news
and, if you haven’t yet signed up to receive ALA “action alerts,”
<http://cqrcengage.com/ala/app/register?1&m=20147> now’s the time!


*Diedre Conkling*

*Lincoln County Library DistrictP.O. Box 2027Newport, OR 97365Phone & Fax:
541-265-3066Work email**: **diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org*
<diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org>
*Home email: **diedre08 at gmail.com* <diedre08 at gmail.com>

 “If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change
your attitude.”―Maya Angelou
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