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ARL Disappointed by Version of USA FREEDOM Act Passed by US House of Representatives

telephone with sticker that says "this phone is tapped"image © François Proulx

Today, May 22, 2014, the US House of Representatives voted 303 to 121 to pass H.R. 3361, the USA FREEDOM Act, after amending the bill twice in committees. The original version of the bill, which currently remains unaltered in the Senate, had 151 House co-sponsors. Some of these co-sponsors withdrew their support and opposed the version of H.R. 3361 reported out of the House Rules Committee on May 21 because of the significant changes made. Even several of those co-sponsors who voted in favor of H.R. 3361 expressed disappointment that the bill did not go far enough in curtailing the Government’s ability to conduct bulk collection of records and failed to protect privacy and civil liberties in the same manner as the prior versions.

 
 

Letter Urging US Government Toward Greater Surveillance Transparency (July 18, 2013)

On July 18, 2013, 65 privacy and civil liberties groups, sent this letter to the US government, urging them to show greater transparency in NSA requests to web-based service providers for information on users.

On September 30, 2013, 34 more groups (including ARL) signed the letter.

pdf ltr-us-gov-NSA-transparency.pdf

 
 

Letter to Congress in Support of Surveillance Acts (September 30, 2013)

On September 30, 2013, ARL, together with 71 other privacy and civil liberties groups, sent this letter to the US Senate and House Judiciary Committees, calling on Congress to "provide greater transparency around national security-related requests by the US government to Internet, telephone, and web-based service providers for information about their users and subscribers." Based upon such a review, the coalition gives its strong support in favor of the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013 and the Surveillance Order Reporting Act of 2013.

The coalition sent the letter to urge Congress to hold hearings for these bills, and it was a follow up to the July 18 letter (PDF) that the coalition wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

pdf ltr-to-congress-judiciary-cmte-re-transparency-bills-support-30sep2013.pdf

 
 

Coalition Letter to Senate Judiciary Committee re NSA Surveillance Programs (July 30, 2013)

On July 30, 2013, ARL, together with 59 other privacy and civil liberties groups, sent this letter to the US Senate Judiciary Committee, calling on Congress to evaluate the National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance programs and risks to civil liberties. Based upon such a review, the coalition urges Congress to enact critical reforms to ensure that government surveillance programs include robust safeguards for constitutional rights. Such reforms should include tightening the standards for collection and use of information, including communications metadata; increasing meaningful judicial authorization and review of such programs, and limiting the secrecy of such programs.

The coalition sent the letter in advance of the Judiciary Committee's July 31 hearing on the National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance programs.

pdf ltr-to-senate-judiciary-cmte-re-nsa-surveillance-30july2013.pdf

 
 

Letter Requesting Public Report on Government Surveillance (July 8, 2013)

On July 8, 2013, ARL, together with 19 other privacy and civil liberties groups, sent this letter to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), calling on the PCLOB to author a public report about surveillance authorities and risks to civil liberties. The coalition sent the letter in advance of the PCLOB's first-ever public workshop, held July 9, to discuss the National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs that collect phone records and monitor Internet traffic.

pdf ltr-to-pclob-re-nsa-8july13.pdf

 
 
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