Nine 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.”
A coalition of technology and internet companies is lobbying to curb US National Security Agency surveillance powers and for more transparency on government data requests. The Reform Government Surveillance coalition, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft and Apple, added its support for the race to pass a bill through the US Senate before the end of the year, which would inhibit mass data collection from emails and internet metadata. “The Senate has an opportunity this week to vote on the bipartisan USA Freedom Act,” said the coalition in an open letter sent to the Senate. “We urge you to pass the bill, which both protects national security and reaffirms America’s commitment to the freedoms we all cherish.” The bill would also allow technology companies to disclose the number and types of data demands from government as part of the continued transparency push from the industry. If the USA Freedom Act fails to pass through the Senate before the end of the year the process will have to restart in January, and will be scrutinised by a new Congress controlled a Republican party more favourable to government surveillance.