WASHINGTON, DC — August 9, 2013 —
BSA | The Software Alliance today welcomed an announcement by President Obama that the Administration is taking steps to review and reform government surveillance programs to ensure there are robust safeguards in place to protect civil liberties.
“We applaud the President’s plans to thoroughly review government surveillance practices and work with Congress on appropriate reforms to better protect civil liberties,” said BSA Senior Vice President of External Affairs Matt Reid. “Recent disclosures have damaged America’s reputation in the world. They also have hurt US-based companies that provide data-driven products and services by casting doubt on their trustworthiness for international customers. We need to address those concerns by ensuring that all government access to private data adheres to robust privacy and civil liberties safeguards that instill confidence and trust among US citizens and the international community.”
“The expert review that the President announced today will be helpful, and it is encouraging that he has specifically called for reforms to Section 215 of the Patriot Act and to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,” Reid said. “We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to advance those reforms.”
“While that process is underway, we also urge the Administration to allow companies to report detailed statistics such as the number of requests for data they receive under specific legal authorities. That would allow companies to demonstrate to the international marketplace that they manage customers’ data with the utmost discretion,” said Reid. “We also urge the government to expand its own public disclosures through regular transparency reports that provide similar information. That would provide a factual basis for more informed national and international discussions about the appropriate bounds and safeguards for intelligence and law enforcement practices.”