The NSA’s PRISM data collection programs and resulting probes have ignited serious concerns around government surveillance and privacy, and have citizens, foreign governments, journalists and members of Congress questioning what’s being tracked and why.
It seems like every day there is a new revelation about how our government is collecting data. On Wednesday, October 2, the Senate Judiciary Committee held an oversight hearing and Chairman Patrick Leahy made the point that information is not always forthcoming. “We sometimes find we get far more in the newspapers — we get crossword puzzles as well — we get more in the newspapers than in classified briefings,” Leahy said. This is not exactly shocking, but still it is very disappointing that congressional leadership is kept in the dark about information they need to do their jobs and protect the Constitution.
At Rackspace, we think Congress should pass transparency legislation as soon as possible. We are particularly impressed by two bills designed to do just that, namely the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013, by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), and the Surveillance Order Reporting Act, by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) If passed, these bills would add much needed transparency into how collection of user data is reported. Senator Franken’s bill would force the government to issue annual reports to the public about the surveillance requests made through the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and companies could publish the number of surveillance requests they receive on a cadence of every six months.
We want to be as transparent with our customers as legally permissible, therefore we support Sen. Franken and Rep. Lofgren in their quests to make electronic data collection by the NSA or any other intelligence agency more public. Further, we encourage our customers, partners, friends and industry peers to support these bills and push for more transparency in how data is requested and collected.
You can read Rackspace’s full position on cloud privacy and government surveillance in the Rackspace Open Cloud Community.