Tech companies look to Sen. Wyden to fight for online freedom
Many people are concerned about the state of Internet freedom in the United States, and a number of online organizations have turned to Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) for help.
Numerous people have a stake in the success of online freedom. First and foremost is its users. In the U.S, numerous people log on each and everyday. The reasons may vary – someone may use the Internet for work, while another may use it for shopping – but something that reigns true across the Internet's functions is the need for cyberspace to be free and open.
However, one of the many revelations from the Edward Snowden leaks is that much of a user's online activity is monitored by the National Security Administration. While the NSA argues that this is in the name of homeland security, many people both in the government and the civil sphere are staunchly against these policies.
Wyden defends online privacy
One senator who has been staunchly against this kind of surveillance policy is Sen. Ron Wyden. The Oregonian reported that while Wyden declined to comment on the role that Edward Snowden played in these revelations, he believed that these surveillance discussions should have been much more public from the start.
While declined to speak on Snowden directly, he believes that top most intelligence officials have been perpetuating a "pattern of deception" and a "culture of misinformation," according to the news source. For many, Wyden's sentiments strike a chord. The fact that it took a rogue former member of the NSA to illegally release these documents shows that there is a lack of transparency when it comes domestic surveillance and security.
Tech companies seek Wyden's help
Because Wyden has such a strong track record in sticking up for online freedom and privacy, a number of notable tech companies have sought his help in opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is an economic policy that was agreed upon behind closed doors.
Venture Beat reported the ramifications of the agreement are far spanning, addressing everything copyright laws to privacy. Many tech companies believe that the TPP could create harsher criminal penalties for minor copyright infringements and force Internet service providers to disclose personal user information to authorities, building on the already shaky NSA policies.
As a result, 25 tech companies including Reddit, Imgur and DataFoundry wrote a letter to Wyden asking for his support against the proposal. Wyden was recently appointed to the head of the Senate Finance Committee, meaning that he could hold even more sway on the agreement.
For many, these efforts have made Wyden one of the major champions for online freedom in today's Congress.