September 08, 2014

WASHINGTON – Some of the most respected voices representing the technology industry joined together today calling on the Senate to pass bipartisan legislation to reform the nation’s surveillance laws.  In a joint letter of support for S. 2685, the USA FREEDOM Act, the technology industry organizations noted the reforms are critical to restore public trust and stem negative economic implications for the technology sector in the wake of the Snowden revelations. 

The letter addressed to Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell was sent by BSA, The Software Alliance; the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA); the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI); Reform Government Surveillance (RGS); and the Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA); to every member of the Senate.  

The letter can be viewed by clicking here, text of which is included below:

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Republican Leader
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Majority Leader Reid and Republican Leader McConnell,

The undersigned trade associations and organizations, representing leaders in the technology sector, write to urge your support for the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act, S. 2685, introduced on July 29, 2014 by Senators Leahy, Franken, Lee, and Heller.

The revelations about the U.S. government’s surveillance programs that began in June of 2013 have led to an erosion of public trust in the U.S. government and the U.S. technology sector.  In an effort to begin restoring that trust, the USA FREEDOM Act will prevent the bulk collection of Internet metadata, call detail records, and other tangible things in a manner that both enhances privacy and protects national security. We note that in a recent letter to Chairman Leahy, Attorney General Holder and Director of National Intelligence Clapper pointed out that the USA FREEDOM Act “enhances privacy and civil liberties and increases transparency” yet at the same time, it “preserves essential Intelligence Community capabilities.” 

These reforms, among the others contained in the USA FREEDOM Act, will send a clear signal to the international community and to the American people that government surveillance programs are narrowly tailored, transparent, and subject to oversight.

As a result of the surveillance program revelations, U.S. technology companies have experienced negative economic implications in overseas markets. In addition, other countries are considering proposals that would limit data flows between countries, which would have a negative impact on the efficiencies upon which the borderless Internet relies. The transparency measures in the USA FREEDOM Act are designed to alleviate some of the concerns behind such actions by allowing companies to be more transparent about the orders they receive from the government pursuant to its surveillance authorities. 

The surveillance reforms embodied in the USA FREEDOM Act are necessary to help restore public trust in both the U.S. government and the U.S. technology sector, as well as to continue the innovative and competitive success of the American tech sector in global markets.

We urge the Senate to act in a bipartisan fashion and swiftly pass the USA FREEDOM Act.

BSA | The Software Alliance

CCIA – Computer and Communications Industry Association

ITI – Information Technology Industry Council

RGS – Reform Government Surveillance

SIIA – Software and Information Industry Association

# # #

About BSA:  BSA | The Software Alliance (www.bsa.org) is the leading advocate for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace. Its members are among the world’s most innovative companies, creating software solutions that spark the economy and improve modern life. With headquarters in Washington, DC, and operations in more than 60 countries around the world, BSA pioneers compliance programs that promote legal software use and advocates for public policies that foster technology innovation and drive growth in the digital economy.

About CCIA: CCIA is an international, nonprofit association representing a broad cross section of computer, communications and Internet industry firms. CCIA remains dedicated, as it has for over 40 years, to promoting innovation and preserving full, fair and open competition throughout our industry. Our members employ more than 600,000 workers and generate annual revenues in excess of $465 billion. For more, please go to: www.ccianet.org

About ITI:  The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) is the premier advocacy and policy organization for the world’s leading innovation companies.  ITI navigates the relationships between policymakers, companies, and non-governmental organizations, providing creative solutions that advance the development and use of technology around the world. Visit www.itic.org to learn more. Follow us on Twitter for the latest ITI news and other alerts: @ITI_TechTweets 

About RGS:  Reform Government Surveillance is a coalition of nine companies that believe the world’s governments must address the practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their information.  Consistent with established global norms of free expression and privacy and with the goals of ensuring that government law enforcement and intelligence efforts are rule-bound, narrowly tailored, transparent, and subject to oversight, we set forth a set of principles, found at ReformGovernmentSurveillance.com, for governments to endorse.

About SIIA:  SIIA is the leading association representing the software and digital content industries. SIIA represents approximately 800 member companies worldwide that develop software and digital information content. SIIA provides global services in government relations, business development, corporate education and intellectual property protection to the leading companies that are setting the pace for the digital age. For more information, visit www.siia.net.

Public Policy Tags: Data & Privacy, Surveillance Reform