The Global Network Initiative welcomes the commitment by President Obama to work with Congress on the reform of section 215 of the Patriot Act and to increase transparency and oversight around communications surveillance programs in the United States.

The Global Network Initiative is encouraged by the introduction of bills like the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013, into the Senate by Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) and the Surveillance Order Reporting Act, into the House by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). The bills would remove legal barriers preventing the U.S. government and companies from disclosing the number of national security requests. This will help enable a thoughtful public debate on human rights and communications surveillance.

“GNI has called for more transparency as a prerequisite for the necessary informed global public debate on the balance between national security and privacy and freedom of expression rights,” said GNI Executive Director Susan Morgan. “We look forward to working with Congress and the Executive branch to develop even stronger mechanisms to increase transparency and ensure that surveillance programs are subject to internationally recognized human rights laws and standards.”