Apple is one of ten tech giants to once again call on the US Government not to reauthorize the Patriot Act in its current form. The Act expires on 1st June unless it is renewed by Congress. Apple was joined by AOL, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.

In an open letter to President Obama, NSA Director Admiral Rogers and other prominent government figures, the companies urge Congress to end the bulk collection of communications metadata–the logs that determine how and when ordinary citizens contact each other.

The letter says that mass surveillance must end, and that a revised bill must contain mechanisms to ensure that future government surveillance is both transparent and accountable … 

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The letter, also signed by trade associations and privacy advocates, urges the government to refuse to renew the Act until such reforms have been agreed.

It has been nearly two years since the first news stories revealed the scope of the United States’ surveillance and bulk collection activities. Now is the time to take on meaningful legislative reforms to the nation’s surveillance programs that maintain national security while preserving privacy, transparency, and accountability. We strongly encourage both the White House and Members of Congress to support the above reforms and oppose any efforts to enact any legislation that does not address them.

The same ten companies, all members of the Global Government Surveillance Reform coalition, supported a USA Freedom Act last year, designed to make the bulk collection of data illegal. The bipartisan bill was defeated.

Apple has been taking a firm stance on privacy in the face of government pressure and attempts to break its security.

The full text of the letter can be read below.

President Barack Obama The White House

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Office of the Director of National Intelligence

The Honorable Mitch McConnell Senate Majority Leader United States Senate

The Honorable John Boehner Speaker of the House United States House of Representatives

The Honorable Charles Grassley Chairman Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate

The Honorable Bob Goodlatte Chairman Committee on the Judiciary United States House of Representatives

The Honorable Richard Burr Chairman Senate Select Committee on Intelligence United States Senate

The Honorable Devin Nunes Chairman House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence United States House of Representatives

Attorney General Eric Holder United States Department of Justice

Admiral Michael Rogers Director National Security Agency

The Honorable Harry Reid Senate Minority Leader United States Senate

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi House Minority Leader United States House of Representatives

The Honorable Patrick Leahy Ranking Member Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate

The Honorable John Conyers, Jr. Ranking Member Committee on the Judiciary United States House of Representatives

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein Vice Chairman Senate Select Committee on Intelligence United States Senate

The Honorable Adam Schiff Ranking Member House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence United States House of Representatives

March 25, 2015

We the undersigned represent a wide range of privacy and human rights advocates, technology companies, and trade associations that hold an equally wide range of positions on the issue of surveillance reform. Many of us have differing views on exactly what reforms must be included in any bill reauthorizing USA PATRIOT Act Section 215, which currently serves as the legal basis for the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephone metadata and is set to expire on June 1, 2015. That said, our broad, diverse, and bipartisan coalition believes that the status quo is untenable and that it is urgent that Congress move forward with reform.

Together, we agree that the following elements are essential to any legislative or Administration effort to reform our nation’s surveillance laws:

• There must be a clear, strong, and effective end to bulk collection practices under the USA PATRIOT Act, including under the Section 215 records authority and the Section

214 authority regarding pen registers and trap & trace devices. Any collection that does occur under those authorities should have appropriate safeguards in place to protect privacy and users’ rights.

• The bill must contain transparency and accountability mechanisms for both government and company reporting, as well as an appropriate declassification regime for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decisions.

We believe addressing the above must be a part of any reform package, though there are other reforms that our groups and companies would welcome, and in some cases, believe are essential to any legislation. We also urge Congress to avoid adding new mandates that are controversial and could derail reform efforts.

It has been nearly two years since the first news stories revealed the scope of the United States’ surveillance and bulk collection activities. Now is the time to take on meaningful legislative reforms to the nation’s surveillance programs that maintain national security while preserving privacy, transparency, and accountability. We strongly encourage both the White House and Members of Congress to support the above reforms and oppose any efforts to enact any legislation that does not address them.

Thank you

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