Our Co-Founder and Board Chair, Christian Dawson (President of ServInt) recently penned the following editorial sent to the New York Times in response to this article. As of the writing of this blog post the New York Times has not published the letter.
As a small business operator whose business has been harmed by the actions of federal agencies’ surveillance programs, and as Chairman of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition, I support the USA FREEDOM Act.
The New York Times is wrong when it says that the USA FREEDOM Act won’t end mass surveillance under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. This new bill would place the most significant limits on federal surveillance power in over three decades. I reject the idea furthered in this paper’s recent editorial that progress should be shut down because it is not enough progress.
The debate over mass surveillance is not just an ideological exercise over the validity of various Constitutional arguments. This is an issue of jobs and the economy. Surveillance programs are eroding the faith that consumers have in the Cloud and mobile economies. These two sectors have served as the backbones of this nation’s economic recovery over the past decade. These sectors have been demonstrably weakened by revelations of the United States’ mass warrantless surveillance programs and steps are required now to repair their images so that the American economy can continue to grow.
In past decades, manufacturing spending was seen as a canary in the coal mine for the state of the American economy. If spending slowed, it was likely that the rest of the economic machine would follow suit a couple of years later. The same is now true for American digital infrastructure. The USA FREEDOM Act is our very best shot at doing something now that can help us mitigate the real harm that the current surveillance actions are reaping on our economy. We cannot let a desire to complete our entire surveillance-reform want list in one shot keep us from tangible progress when the stakes are this high.
You can also find the letter we signed from the Center for Democracy and Technology along with many other companies and organizations in support of the USA Freedom Act, addressed to House and Senate Leadership as well as the Chairs of the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees here.