Patriot Act Author Calls for NSA Reform, Hopes Freedom Act Will Pass into Law

The Freedom Act will curb the NSA's powers and increase transparency for tech companies

By on November 20th, 2013 18:51 GMT

In an article published by the Guardian, Patriot Act creator, Jim Sensenbrenner criticized the NSA overreach and called for more reforms for the intelligence agency’s programs.

After mentioning that the NSA scandal didn’t just hurt privacy, but also the American tech companies’ credibility across the seas, he makes a point in pushing forward his new legislation, the Freedom Act.

The project calls for more transparency by allowing Internet and telcos to publicly disclose the number of FISA orders received, as well as the national security letters sent their way, but also a clear number of requests they complied with. Moreover, tech companies would also be able to divulge how many users or accounts are affected by the orders.

Additionally, and most importantly, the Freedom Act calls for the ending of bulk phone record collection in the United States, among other points meant to curb the powers of the NSA.

Sensenbrenner also stresses the support the act received from important tech companies in the US, such as Mozilla, who considers it to be an “important step toward rebuilding user trust by adding limitations on government collection of data in the name of national security.”

Furthermore, in a joint letter, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, Google and LinkedIn all call for more transparency, asking for the lift of the gag order imposed by the US government when it comes to revealing just how many secret orders they get from agencies such as the National Security Agency.

“These endorsements send a clear message: transparency and privacy are paramount for internet and telecommunication companies. It is the bedrock of their credibility and stability as corporate entities,” Sensenbrenner says.

Although it is the Patriot Act, which he created in 2001, that currently allows the NSA to collect so much data right now, Sensenbrenner has argued from the very beginning that the agency has interpreted the document in a way that it suited it.

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