Today dozens of companies, trade associations, and civil society groups issued a letter calling on Congress to swiftly pass the USA FREEDOM Act. The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT)-led letter comes with less than one month remaining before the expiration of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act — the provision the government uses to justify its bulk collection of records of telephone calls made to, from, and within the United States.
The letter, addressed to House and Senate Leadership as well as the Chairs of the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, indicates that the bill would prohibit bulk collection under the PATRIOT Act, and make other important reforms to enhance transparency and accountability.
“It’s time for Congress to act on this legislation and end bulk collection of phone call records. We need reform of the PATRIOT Act, not a rubber stamp extension of it and the misuses to which it has been put,” said Harley Geiger, CDT Advocacy Director and Senior Counsel.
The letter notes that the legislation does not comprehensively address surveillance concerns, and calls for future action once the USA FREEDOM Act is passed.
In a rare show of bipartisanship, the House Judiciary Committee approved the USA FREEDOM Act on April 30 by a vote of 25-2. It is expected to be voted on by the full House of Representatives next week.
Read the full letter here.