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Tech giants call for U.S. Senate to curb NSA spying

Tue 18 Nov 2014

A group of leading technology firms including Facebook, Google and Apple have joined together to request that the U.S. Senate passes a reform law against National Security Alliance (NSA) surveillance programmes.

The coalition, known as Reform Government Surveillance, has written an open letter to the Senate backing the U.S. Freedom Act which could go up for vote later this week.

The demand mirrors the recent re-write of a UN resolution by Germany and Brazil, which described NSA spying as “highly intrusive acts.”

If the request is successful, the reform law would disallow governmental organisations to gather communications data, as well as enabling tech companies to disclose government demands for information with more transparency.

The letter reads: “The Senate has an opportunity this week to vote on the bipartisan USA Freedom Act. We urge you to pass the bill, which both protects national security and reaffirms America’s commitment to the freedoms we all cherish.”

“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,” the letter continues.

However, the coalition urges that surveillance in the digital age will still remain a concern even if the bill is passed.

“Passing the USA Freedom Act […] 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.”

“Now is the time to move forward on meaningful change to our surveillance programmes. We encourage you to support the USA Freedom Act,” concluded the letter.

The final letter was signed by the following 10 tech firms: AOL, Apple, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.


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