Today, TechFreedom joined with over 70 companies and nonprofit organizations to voice support for two important bills that would allow companies to publish statistics about government demands for user data – a key step towards understanding the full scope of government surveillance. An excerpt from the letter we sent to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee:
Specifically, we write to voice our strong support for S. 1452, the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013, and H.R. 3035, the Surveillance Order Reporting Act of 2013, each of which would clarify that companies have the right to publish basic statistics about the government demands for user data that they receive. We urge the Committees to hold hearings on the issue of surveillance transparency as a prelude to the markup of these bills.
We very much look forward to working with the sponsors of S. 1452 and H.R. 3035 to ensure that the goals of those pieces of legislation, and the goals stated in our previous letter, are fully aligned. For example, the Senate bill provides for significant public reporting by the government itself, as requested in our previous letter, and we would welcome the addition of such provisions to the House bill. Similarly, as we had previously requested, the House bill provides for reporting by companies on their receipt of National Security Letters (NSLs) as well as requests under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and we would strongly support inclusion of a similar provision regarding NSLs in the Senate bill, consistent with Chairman Leahy’s longstanding and much appreciated support for NSL reform.