Tech companies offer civil liberties recommendations to White House

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
Font Size:

The trade associations of major U.S. technology firms are continuing to advocate for the protection of civil liberties and transparency in the federal government’s national security investigations.

In a letter to the White House on Tuesday, organizations including the Internet Association and BSA | The Software Alliance advocated for the protection of civil liberties in the government’s collection of private user data for law enforcement and national security purposes.

The organizations also called upon the White House to support modernizing reforms to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, and to promote “policies that allow for unimpeded cross-border data flows.”

“The free flow of data is critical to the continued growth of our global economy, and such free flow is recognized as one of the most important principles of international trade,” the letter states.

Suffering a backlash around the globe from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures about the U.S. and U.K. phone and Internet surveillance programs, U.S. tech companies are hoping to restore user trust in their services.

Companies such as Google and Microsoft have petitioned the federal government to be more transparent about the government’s user data inquiries for national security investigations.

“We are already seeing longstanding and effective cross-border data mechanisms being questioned in light of the recent disclosures about the U.S. government surveillance programs,” said the letter.

Other associations signed on to the letter include Computer & Communications Industry Association, Information Technology Industry Council, Software & Information Industry Assocation, and TechNet.

The letter comes as a follow up to a meeting between the organizations and the White House on August 6.

Follow Josh on Twitter and Facebook