US tech firms ask Congress for surveillance law reforms

US tech giants including Facebook, Amazon, Google and Cisco have written a letter urging Congress to make changes to the country’s internet surveillance law with a view to improving privacy protections and increasing government transparency, reports Reuters. The tech industry and privacy advocates are particularly concerned about Section 702, which allows US intelligence agencies to monitor communications from foreigners and incidentally collect data belonging to Americans that can be searched by analysts without a warrant. “We are writing to express our support for reforms to Section 702 that would maintain its utility to the US intelligence community while increasing the programme’s privacy protections and transparency,” the companies wrote in a letter to Representative Bob Goodlatte, the Republican chairman of the US House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee.

The letter requests more flexibility in how companies are allowed to disclose the number of surveillance requests and more declassification of orders approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, said the report. Other signatories on the letter include Twitter, Uber, Yahoo and Snap.

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