Google, Apple and others push for the USA Freedom Act

Reform Government Surveillance coalition

10 major tech companies including Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook and Yahoo, that make up the Reform Government Surveillance coalition, are urging the US Senate to pass the USA Freedom Act that will curb mass data collection by the likes of the NSA.

The USA Freedom Act, which might be voted on this week, “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.”

Aol, Dropbox, Evernote, LinkedIn and Twitter are also part of the coalition calling for this legislation to be passed via their open letter to the Senate. That comes as no surprise, as the majority of these companies have had to comply with government requests to hand over user data for investigation with very little oversight, against their own internal privacy policies.

The White House issued a statement saying it “strongly supports” the USA Freedom Act, reported TechCrunch. However, it’s yet to be seen whether it will pass, and we’ll have to watch the outcome of the vote to find out.

The open letter from the Reform Government Surveillance coalition, formed last year, acknowledges that even with the passing of this bill, the battle for privacy and freedom on the Web is far from over, and will continue to push for additional reforms like preventing government access to data without proper legal process.

Update: TechCrunch reports that the USA Freedom Act didn’t make it: “A vote to proceed with the USA FREEDOM Act failed in the Senate after it did not collect the 60 votes that it needed. It failed 58 to 42.”

Open Letter to the US Senate [Reform Government Surveillance]

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