05:55 GMT04 April 2020
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    Reform Government Surveillance representative Jessica Herrera-Flanigan says that US technology companies oppose reauthorizing the provisions for bulk collection of phone calls and internet traffic in the Patriot Act as envisioned in a US Senate bill.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US technology companies oppose reauthorizing the provisions for bulk collection of phone calls and internet traffic in the Patriot Act as envisioned in a US Senate bill, Reform Government Surveillance representative Jessica Herrera-Flanigan told Sputnik.

    “Reform Government Surveillance does not support reauthorizing Section 215 bulk collection authority,” Herrera-Flanigan said on Wednesday. “We believe it is critical that the US government prohibit bulk collection and increase transparency and accountability through bi-partisan and bi-cameral reform.”

    On Tuesday, US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced legislation to extend Section 215 of the Patriot Act until the end of 2020. Portions of the Patriot Act, which have been extended multiple times, will expire on June 1, 2015, unless new legislation is approved by the US Congress.

    In response to the Senate bill, the US House is expected to introduce a separate bill on Wednesday extending the Patriot Act without Section 215.

    Herrera-Flanigan explained that technology companies want to ensure they are addressing the safety and security of technology in the wake of whistleblower Edward Snowden revelations of the US National Security Agency’s far ranging surveillance practices.

    On April 15, 2015, six technology industry lobby groups — including Reform Government Surveillance — sent a letter to the US Congress urging an end to Patriot Act provisions that permit mass surveillance.

    The groups noted that the US government mass surveillance practices have created concern among foreign customers and governments over the safety and security of US technology, impacting negatively the technology sector.

    The Patriot Act was swiftly enacted shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. Advocates of the Act argue it protects the United States while opponents argue that many of its provisions violate civil liberties and overextend the powers of the US government.

    The Reform Government Surveillance is a technology industry lobby group that represents such technology giants as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo and AOL.


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