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Groups Urge Senate to Oppose the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA)

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (“CISA”), which the full Senate is expected to debate in the near future, does far more to increase surveillance and undermine transparency than to protect against cyber threats, according to 12 open government and civil liberties groups. The groups joined OpenTheGovernment.org in a letter urging the Senate to reject the bill in its entirety.

OpenTheGovernment.org and Over 50 Other Groups Oppose PATRIOT Act Reauthorization Without Reform

OpenTheGovernment.org joined a broad, bipartisan group of over 50 organizations in strongly opposing Senator Mitch McConnell's effort to extend the PATRIOT Act for five years without any reform of surveillance programs. As the letter states, "[i]n the absence of meaningful reform, it is unacceptable to rubber stamp reauthorization of an authority that the government has used to spy on millions of innocent Americans."

Legal Justice for Servicemembers Act Introduced in House and Senate

The Legal Justice for Servicemembers Act, introduced by Senators Barbara Boxer, Ron Wyden, and Edward J. Markey and Congresswoman Jackie Speier, strengthens whistleblower protections rights for members of the Armed Forces. Twenty-seven groups joined the Government Accountability Project in strongly supporting the legislation.

Time to End the Senate's NDAA Secrecy

The National Defense Authorization Act authorizes $585 billion in Pentagon spending. The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) keeps the public almost entirely in the dark on this mammoth authorization bill. Last year, the text of the bill considered by the committee was not made available publicly and the markup was closed to the public. In contrast, the House Armed Services Committee has held an open markup for years.

34 Groups Oppose "Protecting Cyber Networks Act"

The Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA) would undermine government transparency and increase intelligence agencies’ access to the public’s sensitive personal information, 34 openness and civil liberties groups said in a letter to members of the House of Representatives. The PCNA would categorically exempt government-provided information from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. The legislation also authorizes agencies to use cyber threat information in Espionage Act cases, and leaving open the possibility that “cyber threat” information could be used to investigate whistleblowers.

OpenTheGovernment.org and Allies Press for Meaningful Surveillance Reform

Earlier today, OpenTheGovernment.org joined with a large coalition of civil society groups and trade associations, along with tech companies, in sending a letter to Congress that underscores the essential elements of any surveillance reform legislation. The letter, signed by over forty groups, emphasizes that transparency is an essential part of any meaningful surveillance reform bill--and that we oppose reauthorization of section 215 of the PATRIOT Act without real reform:

Sunshine Week: The Administration Should Take These 4 Steps

Sunshine Week is often commemorated with reports, events, and articles from the open government community and government alike. This year, 23 groups call on the Obama Administration to go further and take 4 concrete steps to improve government openness and accountability.

Groups to SSCI: CISA Undermines Transparency

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's (SSCI) draft cybersecurity legislation increases surveillance and undermines transparency, according 11 open government and civil liberties groups. The groups joined OpenTheGovernment.org in a letter to SSCI and urged the committee to reject the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) in its entirety. The draft legislation is overbroad and duplicative, undermines whistleblower protections and adds an unnecessary exemption to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Read the letter in full here.

47 Groups Support 114th Congress' Steps to Reform FOIA

Forty-seven groups thanked Senators Cornyn and Leahy and Representatives Issa and Cummings for their newly-introduced legislation to reform the Freedom of Information Act. The FOIA Overisght and Implementation Act (H.R. 653) and the FOIA Improvement Act (S. 337) include critical reforms that will help strengthen the public's ability to hold its government accountable. Read the letter here. For more analysis, visit the Sunlight Foundation and the National Security Archive.

Groups to President Obama: Stop Ignoring the Torture Report

On January 28, OpenTheGovernment.org and 8 other groups wrote to President Obama, asking his administration to stop ignoring the nearly 7000-page torture report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and reject Senator Richard Burr’s unprecedented request for the report’s return. The letter states in part:

The Classified Section

Check out our new blog, The Classified Section, for analysis of national security secrecy.

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