Yesterday, Campaign for Liberty signed a coalition letter to Congressional Leadership in support of the Poe-Lofgren Amendment to the USA Freedom Act. The amendment would prohibit the government from collecting the communications of US persons without a search warrant. In addition, the amendment would prohibit the government from requiring individuals or companies from building back doors into their products.
The full letter is below and available here.
Yesterday, Campaign for Liberty came out against the USA Freedom Act in its current form (i.e. without the amendment). We will continue to monitor the bill as it moves through the mark-up process.
The Honorable Bob Goodlatte
Chairman, House Committee on the Judiciary
2138 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
The Honorable John Conyers Jr.
Ranking Member, House Committee on the Judiciary
B-351 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
April 29, 2015
RE: Poe-Lofgren Amendment to USA FREEDOM
Dear Chairman Goodlatte, Ranking Member Conyers, and members of the House Committee on the Judiciary:
We writing in strong support of Representative Poe and Lofgren’s proposed amendment to USA FREEDOM, offered with the support of a bipartisan coalition of cosponsors. The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of a virtually identical measure–House Amendment 935 (113th Congress), amending the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for FY 2015. As you know, the ongoing revelations about the intrusive nature and broad scope of government surveillance have badly damaged the trust users have in the security of their Internet communications. This amendment would help begin to restore that trust in two ways.
First, the amendment would address the “backdoor search loophole” by prohibiting government agencies from collecting and searching the communications of U.S. persons without a warrant using section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (50 U.S.C. 1881a), a statute primarily designed to pick up communications of individuals abroad. Although section 702 prohibits the government from intentionally targeting the communications of U.S. persons, the government asserts the authority to query those communications if they were inadvertently or incidentally collected under section 702.
Second, the amendment would prohibit the government from requiring or requesting that any person or entity build back doors in its products or services that would facilitate electronic surveillance of users of such products or services. This is a sensible limitation that not only improves transparency of surveillance practices, but also promotes security by avoiding the creation of potential vulnerabilities that can later be exploited by criminals and other bad actors. Notably, this particular provision would exempt any mandates or requests that are made with regard to products and services that are covered under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA).
Both of these measures would make appreciable changes that would advance government surveillance reform and help rebuild lost trust among Internet users and businesses, while also preserving national security and intelligence authorities. We urge adoption of Representatives Poe and Lofgren’s amendment.