More than 50 technology companies, privacy and human rights advocates on Wednesday sent a letter (pdf) to U.S. President Barack Obama, members of Congress, and other executive and intelligence officials demanding immediate curbs to government surveillance and an end to the bulk collection of citizens’ communications under the U.S. Patriot Act.
“It has been nearly two years since the first news stories revealed the scope of the United States’ surveillance and bulk collection activities. Now is the time to take on meaningful legislative reforms to the nation’s surveillance programs that maintain national security while preserving privacy, transparency, and accountability,” reads the letter.
The diverse coalition—which includes groups such as the Brennan Center for Justice, Mozilla, Center for Media and Technology, Wikimedia Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee—notes that, while there are “differing views on exactly what reforms must be included,” there is widespread agreement on a few key measures.
Namely, the group is calling for “a clear, strong, and effective end to bulk collection practices” under the Patriot Act, enforceable transparency and accountability mechanisms for both the government and private company reporting of data collection, and a plan for declassifying Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decisions.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT