Silicon Valley calls on signing USA Freedom Act to end mass surveillance

18 Nov 2014

Silicon Valley’s largest tech companies have banded together once again to call on the US government to pass through the USA Freedom Act, which will prevent mass surveillance on a worldwide level.

Calling themselves the Global Government Surveillance Reform, their latest open letter signed by the heads of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo!, Dropbox, AOL, LinkedIn and Evernote say that the Act, which is currently passing through the US legal system, is vital as it ‘protects national security and reaffirms America’s commitment to the freedoms we all cherish.’

Originally introduced in October last year, the Act will effectively make all of the revelations found during Edward Snowden’s time at the NSA illegal, while also allowing the companies calling for reform to declare more information on data requests they have received.

Many of the companies who have formed the coalition have become increasingly more open about the number of data requests they have received from governments, not just in the US, but across the world.

A make-or-break deal to pass Act

And yet, aside from pure user request numbers, does not tell a whole lot about what type of data was requested.

The sense of urgency from the coalition is not to be under-estimated as there remains considerable fear that if the bill does not pass by the end of this year, there will be little hope for its re-introduction in January as the newly Republican-controlled Congress will inevitably be more in favour of making sure it never sees the light of day.

However, in their open letter, the coalition said that their end goal is not just the passing of the USA Freedom Act, but will continue on with calls for more reform.

“We will continue to work with Congress, the Administration, civil liberties groups and governments around the world to advance essential reforms that we set forth in a set of principles last year,” said the letter.

US Congress image via Shuterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic