Major U.S. Tech Firms Press Congress For Internet Surveillance Reforms:

Reuters | By: Dustin Volz | Technology News | Fri May 26, 2017 | 11:56am EDT:

Facebook, Amazon and more than two dozen other U.S. technology companies pressed Congress on Friday to make changes to a broad internet surveillance law, saying they were necessary to improve privacy protections and increase government transparency.

The request marks the first significant public effort by Silicon Valley to wade into what is expected to be a contentious debate later the year over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, parts of which will expire on Dec. 31 unless Congress reauthorizes them.

Of particular concern to the technology industry and privacy advocates is Section 702, which allows U.S. intelligence agencies to vacuum up vast amounts of communications from foreigners but also incidentally collects some 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 U.S. intelligence community while increasing the program’s privacy protections and transparency,” the companies wrote in a letter to Representative Bob Goodlatte, the Republican chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee.

Section 702 is considered a vital tool by U.S. intelligence officials, estimated to be responsible for as much as a quarter of surveillance conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency.

But it has long been targeted by civil liberties advocates as too expansive and lacking in sufficient safeguards.

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