Several technology companies, including Mozilla, Reddit and Twitter, are calling on congress to protect the privacy of users’ online browsing records. On May 13, U.S. senators vetoed an amendment to the Freedom Reauthorization, meaning authorities do not need to obtain arrest warrants before searching users’ online browsing and search history. The amendment was reportedly proposed by Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, and Senator Steve Daines, Republican of Montana, but ended in a one-vote margin.
Even so, privacy advocacy groups and technology companies are calling on the House to actively consider the protections. Groups including Mozilla, Reddit, Twitter, Patreon and groups such as government regulatory reform, Engine and i2Coalition filed a joint petition with Congress on Friday.
“Users hold us accountable for their private information, which is the foundation of trust in the technology industry,” the letter reads. Americans should have the right to protect their online search and browsing history, and authorities must take action only after they have obtained a search warrant.”
It is reported that MPs have been working to introduce some new privacy safeguards through the Freedom Reauthorization amendment. The bill was sent to the House of Representatives on 14 May, but was ultimately unable to pass. This means that the FBI can view The American’s web browser history without authorization.
In addition to technology companies, more than 50 organizations, including the ACLU, Future Struggle, the DuckDuckGo search engine, and the Center for Democracy and Technology, have made similar requests to House leaders through joint letters.