Today, a coalition of free market groups sent a letter to Senate leadership expressing strong opposition to the Senate’s latest attempt to fast-track a reauthorization of expiring provisions of the Patriot Act without meaningful reforms to protect Americans’ privacy.
The coalition letter cites four compelling arguments against a fast-track reauthorization, especially of Section 215, which the NSA has used to collect the calling records of all Americans:
- Blanket surveillance violates basic Constitutional values.
- These mass surveillance programs are also unnecessary and costly.
- Bulk collection undermines consumer confidence in U.S. Internet businesses.
- Legislative sunsets offer a valuable opportunity for careful reconsideration.
“Lawmakers in 2001 didn’t set out to create a surveillance state, and the Section 215 sunset is a valuable opportunity to restore the balance between legitimate national security needs and privacy rights,” said Berin Szoka, President of Techfreedom. “We strongly urge the U.S. Senate not to renew the expiring PATRIOT provisions, especially Section 215, without significant reform.”
“When the government coerces Internet companies to hand over Americans’ data, it undermines the trustworthy relationships between service providers and their users,” said Ryan Radia, Associate Director of Technology Studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “Companies should be free to make enforceable privacy promises to their customers, and the government should respect these assurances by accessing our data only when warranted.”
The letter’s signatories include:
TechFreedom, R Street Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights,, FreedomWorks, Generation Opportunity, Institute for Liberty, Less Government, Liberty Coalition, National Taxpayers Union, Niskanen Center, Rutherford Institute, and Taxpayers Protection Alliance
- “McConnell’s 215 Reauthorization Does Nothing to Protect Americans’ Privacy,” a statement from TechFreedom
- Coalition letter urging lawmakers to consider amendments to fix the NCPAA, a cyber information sharing bill
- “A Bold Proposal: Congress Must Establish a Commission to Audit America’s Privacy Laws,” a press release from TechFreedom