About a year ago, the Reform Government Surveillance coalition was formed. Today, it includes AOL, Apple, Drobpbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo.
The companies have since maintained a website on the issue, and have now penned an open letter to the U.S. Senate as the USA Freedom Act comes up for a vote.
The companies say the world's governments need to address practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their information. They're urging the Senate to pass the bill, which they say protects national security and "reaffirms America's commitment to the freedoms we all cherish".
The letter says:
The legislation prevents the bulk collection of Internet metadata under various authorities. The bill also allows for transparency about government demands for user information from technology companies and assures that the appropriate oversight and accountability mechanisms are in place.
Since forming the Reform Government Surveillance coalition last year, our companies have continued to invest in strengthening the security of our services and increasing transparency. Now, the Senate has the opportunity to send a strong message of change to the world and encourage other countries to adopt similar protections.
Passing the USA Freedom Act, however, does not mean our work is finished. We will continue to work with Congress, the Administration, civil liberties groups and governments around the world to advance essential reforms that we set forth in a set of principles last year.
Such reforms include: preventing government access to data without proper legal process; assuring that providers are not required to locate infrastructure within a country’s border; promoting the free flow of data across borders; and avoiding conflicts among nations through robust, principled, and transparent frameworks that govern lawful requests for data across jurisdictions.
Now is the time to move forward on meaningful change to our surveillance programs. We encourage you to support the USA Freedom Act.
More from the coalition here.
Image via Facebook, Ustream