Access Joins Call for Surveillance Reform: Without Changes, Spying Law Must Expire

Letter is a clarion call for meaningful surveillance reform — but now the real work begins.

Washington, DC — Today, nearly 50 human rights groups, tech companies, and trade associations — including Access, New America’s Open Technology Institute, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Global Network Initiative, Mozilla, and the Wikimedia Foundation — called on Congress and President Obama to move forward with meaningful surveillance reform.

Specifically, the group outlined two elements that “are essential to any legislative or Administration effort to reform our nation’s surveillance laws.”

Those elements include an end to bulk collection practices under the USA PATRIOT Act, and transparency and accountability mechanisms for government and company reporting. The groups also urged against the creation of any new mandates. Access believes that adequate reform legislation must protect the ability of users around the world to communicate securely and that the legislation cannot mandate data retention or require technology to be built with vulnerabilities or backdoors.

“This letter is a clarion call for meaningful surveillance reform,” said Access’ U.S. Policy Manager Amie Stepanovich. “With congress facing a deadline to reauthorize certain surveillance provisions, we have to act soon to adequately protect users.”

Access believes that without adequate surveillance reform, Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act must sunset on June 1, 2015, the date it is set to expire under current law.

“Acceptable surveillance reform legislation must contain adequate protections for users,” Stepanovich continued, “and cannot be subjected to the congressional watering down prior to passage. It’s time to move forward on reforms that truly protect the rights of internet users.”

You can read the letter here.


Media contact
Amie Stepanovich
Senior Policy Counsel
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