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Please begin with an informative title:

On Wednesday, Senator Al Franken (D. MN) made a promise:


Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., confers with an aide as the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights holds a hearing on
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) lashed out this morning at “the lack of transparency” surrounding the collection of Americans’ phone records. Speaking at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Franken blasted top intelligence officials for delays in declassifying secret government documents authorizing the program.

“I don’t want transparency only when it’s convenient to the government,” Franken said. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, he added, “has known for weeks that this hearing was coming and ODNI released this only in the minutes before this hearing began. That doesn’t engender trust.”

Franken vowed to introduce new legislation that would force the Obama administration to reveal more about the NSA’s controversial bulk surveillance programs. - Washington Post, 7/31/13

And yesterday, he made good on that promise:


Taking up the standard of a coalition of Internet companies and public interst groups, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has introduced a bill that would require more transparency around government collection of broadband and phone info.

"The Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013 would expand and improve ongoing government reporting about programs under the PATRIOT Act and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that have been the subject of controversy in recent weeks," Franken's office said Thursday in announcing the bill.

Franken signaled that in a hearing Wednesday (July 31) in the Senate Judiciary Committee on oversight of FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] programs. Franken chairs the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law.

Franken's bill would force the government to disclose how many people had had their info collected, and how many had info reviewed by federal agents. It would also allow private companies to provide aggregate figures on how many requests for info they had received. - Multichannel News, 8/1/13

More below the fold.

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Here's what the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013 calls for:


The bill would require the government to report annually on:

•"The number of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court orders issued under key provisions of the PATRIOT Act and FISA;

•"The number of searches run on that data, including the number of searches run based on data from American citizens and permanent residents;

•"The general categories of information collected;

•"The number of American citizens and permanent residents whose information was collected under the categories and;

•"The number of American citizens and permanent residents whose information was actually reviewed by federal agents.

It would allow companies (it would be voluntary)  to disclose:

•"The number of orders they received and complied with;

•'The general categories of information they produced; and

•'The number of users whose information was produced in the categories."

Franken introduced his bill with Senator Richard Blumenthal (D. CT) and had this to say:


"The government has to give proper weight to both keeping America safe from terrorists and protecting Americans' privacy. When everything about these programs is secret and when the companies involved are under strict gag orders, the American public has no way of knowing whether we're getting that balance right," he said. "I think that's bad for privacy and bad for democracy." - The Hill, 7/31/13
Franken had previously sent a letter to President Obama signed by 63 Internet and computer companies and public interest groups calling for more transparency:
If you would like more information about the Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013, you can contact Senator Franken's office for more details:

(202) 224-5641

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to pdc on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 02:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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