In open letter to Obama, Apple, Google, others urge Patriot Act not be renewed

“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,” Ben Lovejoy reports for 9to5Mac. “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,” Lovejoy reports, “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 full text of the letter, verbatim:

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,

Advocacy for Principled Action in Government American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee American Association of Law Libraries
American Booksellers for Free Expression American Civil Liberties Union
American Library Association
Application Developers Alliance
Association of Research Libraries
Brennan Center for Justice
Center for Democracy & Technology
CloudFlare, Inc.
Committee to Protect Journalists
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Computer & Communications Industry Association The Constitution Project
Constitutional Alliance
Defending Dissent Foundation, Inc.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Engine Advocacy
Free Press Action Fund
Global Network Initiative
Government Accountability Project
Hackers & Founders
Human Rights Watch
Internet Association
Internet Infrastructure Coalition
Liberty Coalition
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers New America’s Open Technology Institute Niskanen Center
PEN American Center
Project On Government Oversight
Public Knowledge
R Street
Reform Government Surveillance
Silent Circle, LLC
Venture Politics
Wikimedia Foundation
World Press Freedom Committee

MacDailyNews Take: Adhere to the U.S. Constitution.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. – Ronald Reagan, March 30, 1961

Visit the Apple-backed today.

Related article:
Apple, Google, others call for government surveillance reform – December 9, 2013


  1. Please do not renew the Patriot Act. It is being abused and it’s unpatriotic. There are better ways to accomplish American safety and freedom. What good is a law that gets ignored anyway?

    1. I would remind the readers that both major parties have supporters and vocal critics of the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act was signed into law by President Bush (Republican) and carried on by President Obama.

      Finally, as informed readers know, there are many aspects of the issue and it takes time to read all.

      For those have read the most, I commend you.

      There are lives on the line, and a civil discussion, frankness and improvement is worth living for.

      1. And I would remind readers there is no liability provision in Title 26 that requires most workers to pay the Federal Income Tax. Yet, most do out of ignorance and fear of the IRS.

    2. Easy for Congress to handle. Don’t send the renewal to him for signature. But they will play political games, send him the legislation and raise hell if he vetos it.

  2. Hey citizens of the free and civilized world, remember the Patriot Act? Yes good old G.W. Bush snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Heck if that act is ever repealed they just might have what it takes for a bright future.

    Otherwise…well there is always the karma bitch, and ewww that will be ugly, real ugly.

    1. Yup. In fact, those good and noble saviors of freedom, the Democrats, remembered it so well that…

      …they renewed it.

      Knock off the Bush-bashing. The fact that the Patriot Act is still around is because the Democrats didn’t let it expire, plain and simple.

      1. The Patriot Act probably had more reason to exist while the country was in two wars than it did before or will do after – if we ever get out of them. And GW does deserve blame for miring the country in two wars (that he conveniently forgot to fund and which STILL account for the majority of the deficit) that he started on false pretenses based on information that was known to be untrue. Dems voted for them, but only because they were fed lies by the administration.
        “If you’re not with us you must be against us.” Remember that? Does that sound like the US Constitution at work?

      2. Hey emmayche, I love your idea of stopping the bashing, be it of your Demoncrats or your Repubicans (I can’t really tell the difference myself) and I’ll be happy to do so, AFTER you.

        Right, you want me to stop bashing, put your money where your mouth is.

        – Stop invading countries immorally. You are supposedly part of the democratic United Nations, so follow the tenets and principals of that organization.
        – Stop torturing innocent people. It’s barbaric and it’s not part of a free and civilized society that should know better.
        – Stop your unethical industrial spying, sabotage, and espionage.

        Start acting like a civilized country and you’ll see the bashing stopping.

        You may wish to consider the noble saviors freedom being people of all makes, shapes and sizes. It’s really time to review your whole system when one polarized party creating the Pat Riot Act and the other sustaining the Pat Riot Act.

        When the bashing stops of course.

        Enjoy your weekend.

    2. The USA PATRIOT Act passed the Senate 98 to 1. That includes Hillary Clinton, who the U.S. mainstream media and entertainment complex will spend the next two years promoting to gullible dopes like you.

      On May 26, 2011, Barack Obama signed the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011, a four-year extension of three key provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act.

      On Nov 18, 2014, Republican Senator Rand Paul voted against further consideration of the USA Freedom Act as it currently extends key provisions of the PATRIOT Act until 2017. Sen. Paul led the charge against the PATRIOT Act extension and offered the following statement:

      “In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Americans were eager to catch and punish the terrorists who attacked us. I, like most Americans, demanded justice. But one common misconception is that the PATRIOT Act applies only to foreigners — when in reality, the PATRIOT Act was instituted precisely to widen the surveillance laws to include U.S. citizens,” Sen. Paul said, “As Benjamin Franklin put it, ‘those who trade their liberty for security may wind up with neither.’ Today’s vote to oppose further consideration of the PATRIOT Act extension proves that we are one step closer to restoring civil liberties in America.” —

      These are facts. You won’t hear them stated on MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, or NBC because they are corrupt shills for the U.S. Democrat Party.

      I fully expect you to ignore these facts and to continue carrying on with your warped delusions, as always.

      1. It’s good to see the two of us agree upon defending the US Constitution.

        But let’s get real here: Propaganda is the core talking points out of BOTH Democrats and Republicans. Both have their mouth pieces within various corporate-owned news services. The result is incessant deceitful noise demanding that we think 1 dimensionally and hate on whatever extreme doesn’t match the meme-of-the-day or that week’s talking points list. IOW: I trust neither ‘left’ nor ‘right’ to make ANY sense any longer. I still read what they spew, but I insist upon learning MORE than what these 1D thinkers pretend is what we need to know and how we need to think about it.

        IOW: Trust in the US politics status quo dead-and-gone. I look elsewhere for a sane US future.

        1. I couldn’t agree with anyone more.

          If we had term and seat limits on parties there would be greater diversity of thought and parties would need to work together as well as compete.

          In theory there are good things about both parties’ supposed viewpoints, but the reality of having just a two significant parties is continual conflict and game playing instead of good governance.

        2. Beter solution: completely get rid of the party system and have all elected official vote on their conscience only. The party system in my opinion, is a horribly flawed concept and is the root of most of the failings of the democratic system.

      2. It’s a pleasure to finally meet on a thread First 2014, Then 2016, I’ve certainly read many of your posts and find them well interesting to say the least.

        I realize that you are probably being gentle with me the first time but there is no need to be modest. I’m sure that the U.S. mainstream media and entertainment complex will spend the next two years promoting many to gullible dopes like me. Of course this particular gullible dope doesn’t have to worry as I won’t be voting for any of them.

        I don’t disagree with your facts, the Senate passing of the law 98 to 1, and Republican Senator Rand Paul voting against further consideration of the USA Freedom Act. I know you do expect me to carry on my warped delusions (“as always” insinuates that you have read other of my posts, I’m flattered thank you) but could you clarify, and correct me since I seem to be ignorant of the fact on who was the president that signed the Patriot Act into law. I was always under the assumption that is was G.W.Bush.

        I mean I know that there are lots of scum that support and maintain the Patriot act, but who was the clod of a president that actually signed the thing to make it a law?

        It won’t do many any good, but certainly the readers of MDN, this fine community would love to know the facts on the presidential slime that signed the Patriot Act into law.

        You don’t have to answer today, I know you have issues being here and now, you are such a futurist, says so right in the handle. Don’t worry, I won’t hold my breath waiting for you to bring to light the fact of the president who signed the Patriot Act into law.

        Have a good weekend.

    1. It’s right out of 1984:
      the Ministry of Peace deals with war and defence.
      the Ministry of Plenty deals with economic affairs (rationing and starvation).
      the Ministry of Love deals with law and order (torture and brainwashing).
      the Ministry of Truth deals with news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda).

  3. Similar legislation was passed in parliament in Australia in the past few days, for telecoms to store this metadata they already collect for 2 years. An example of its use cited in parliament was the recent arrest of drug smugglers and seizure of the 25 kg of ICE they imported.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.