A coalition compromised of nearly 40 groups expressed support for ending the federal government’s bulk data collection program in a letter to President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and congressional leaders from both parties.
But the groups urged the administration and congressional leaders to go further than the limited duel proposals circulated last week by the White House and House Intelligence Committee by getting behind the USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 3361).
“We the undersigned are writing to express support for ending the government’s bulk collection of data about individuals,” the coalition letter states. “We strongly urge swift markup and passage of the USA FREEDOM Act (H.R.3361), which would enact appropriate surveillance reforms without sacrificing national security.”
“This letter focuses on bulk collection,” the groups continue, “but overbroad NSA surveillance raises many more privacy and security issues that Congress and the Administration should address.”
The letter focuses on specific areas of reform. The coalition explains that bulk collection should be prohibited for all types of data, not just phone records. The White House proposal is limited to phone records, leaving loopholes for the federal government to collect other types of records and data.
“Legislation that focuses only on phone records,” the letter says, “may still allow for the bulk collection of, for example, Internet metadata, location information, financial records, library records, and numerous other records that may help ‘identify unknown relationships among individuals.’”