Spying laws that tech giants want to limit
Leading technology companies are working to limit how US intelligence agencies collect and view texts, emails and other information about their users, especially US citizens.
Companies, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Meta Platforms Inc. and Apple Inc., want Congress to restrict Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as they work to renew the law before it expires later this year. according to three people familiar with the discussion.
There is a growing bipartisan consensus in Congress not only to renew the law but to implement the changes after a series of reports and internal audits documenting abuses. That remains tech industry optimistic that broader reforms will be passed by Congress this time, according to two lobbyists who requested anonymity when forwarding internal discussions.
The act, passed by Congress in 2008 in response to revelations about the Bush administration spying on U.S. citizens without a license, confers broad rights that have been criticized for years for reasons such as: due to different. Civil liberties groups think more privacy protections are needed. Former President Donald Trump and his allies claim that the power of espionage allows intelligence agencies to conspire against conservatives.
Matt Schruers, president of the communications and computer technology trade industry association, said: “Reforms are needed to ensure trawler surveillance programs operate within constitutional limits and protect people’s rights. use the United States, through appropriate transparency, oversight, and accountability.” , Meta and Amazon.com Inc. among its members.
Intelligence agencies say Section 702 is an essential tool that has generated critical information about the espionage and hacking activities of countries like China and contributed to the drone attack. successfully killed al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri last year.
Under Section 702, agencies can compel companies without a warrant to turn over contact information, phone records, and other data to national security investigations targeting non-public citizens. U.S. citizens living abroad, even as far as U.S. citizen communications are concerned. Information is kept in a database accessible to analysts for authorized investigations involving foreign intelligence purposes.
Top U.S. officials acknowledged there were problems—also known as “compliance incidents”—with how Section 702 authorities were used. But they say significant efforts and reforms have been made to address the problems.
Key lawmakers and national security officials from the administration of President Joe Biden have begun discussing possible changes.
Social media companies and tech companies have an economic incentive to find ways to limit what the government can force them to do, as their relationships with US agencies have come under criticism after Former government contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals how massive the global espionage apparatus has become in times of terror. Conquer Obama.
Tech companies and their lobbying organizations want the ability to publicly disclose more information about how many times the government requests information about their users and customers and what kind of data they forced to provide. They also want to limit the government’s ability to use information, such as requiring the FBI to obtain a warrant backed by probable cause before searching the Section 702 database for information about the government. United States people.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said in recent congressional hearings that the number of times the bureau’s analysts searched the Section 702 database for information on the American people had decreased by 93% by 2022. compared to 2021.
Looking for Rejection
The overall number of searches has declined, from about 3.4 million in 2021 to about 204,000 in 2022, according to an FBI official who requested anonymity because the new statistics are not official. That’s largely due to reforms the FBI has implemented since 2021, including requiring analysts to “opt-in” to search the Section 702 database, the official said. Previously, the database was included in the search by default even when analysts did not intend to access it.
The companies primarily plan to work through the Reform Government Oversight coalition, established in 2014. The group includes the largest companies. technology company, represented by Chad Tanner, from cybersecurity and technology-focused lobbying outlet Monument Advocacy. Tanner, an advocate with many connections in the industry, joined Monument last year after serving as a staff member of the Senate Intelligence Committee for more than 10 years.
Jake Laperruque, deputy director of the Surveillance and Security Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology, which receives funding from tech companies, said the legislation “is in a much more precarious position than it was at the time. Snowden revealed”. Google, Amazon, Microsoft Inc. and TikTok Inc.
Ironically, the conservative injection of vitriol could give the impetus needed to put in place new legal controls on spying powers this year.
Representative Darin LaHood, a Republican from Illinois, said during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on March 9: “I believe it’s clear legal reauthorization of 702 is the right thing to do. cannot start. reforms to rebuild trust and confidence in the FISA process.”
LaHood said he believes his name has been unlawfully queried multiple times by FBI analysts while reviewing data collected by the authority.
Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat in Washington, welcomed LaHood’s statement. “We must take this opportunity to reform Section 702 and overhaul privacy protections for Americans,” she said.
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quote: Spying Laws Big Tech Wants To Limit (2023, March 22) taken March 22, 2023 from https://techxplore.com/news/2023-03-spy-law-big-tech-limit .html
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