• Home
  • Apple
  • News
  • Apple, Alphabet, Meta Lobbying Against ‘Section 702’ US Spy Law

Apple, Alphabet, Meta Lobbying Against ‘Section 702’ US Spy Law

Apple, Alphabet, Meta Lobbying Against ‘Section 702’ US Spy Law

Apple has joined fellow tech giants Alphabet and Meta in lobbying against a tool that gives intelligence agencies the right to collect and view personal information connected to American citizens.

The tech firms are lobbying to change the way Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) works before Congress votes to renew the law before the end of this year. Section 702 allows government agencies to demand data — including phone records, texts, and emails — from firms for national security investigations.

Intelligence agencies claim Section 702 is an essential tool to fight terrorism (and I’m sure the words “for the children” have been used in relation to this act). However, as noted by Bloomberg, U.S. officials have admitted to certain “compliance incidents” where it’s been used to obtain information.

However, the involved alphabet agencies claim that reforms have been made to prevent such abuses. FBI Director Christopher Wray notes that Section 702 database searches have dropped 93% between 2021 and 2022.

Still, tech companies and activists have a good cause to push back on Section 702. Many tech firms faced heavy criticism after their involvement with intelligence agencies was exposed by Edward Snowden.

Apple and the other firms are to be allowed to publicly disclose how often they’re asked to provide information under Section 702 and disclose the kind of data they were told to hand over.

The tech firms also hope to prevent intelligence agencies from using the information and to require a warrant before agencies can search the Section 702 database for information about U.S. citizens.

The push to limit the reach of Section 702 has seen support from both sides of the aisle, as Republican Representative Darin LaHood from Illinois, has said that “a clean legislative reauthorization of 702 is a non-starter.” Meanwhile, Democrat Representative Pramila Jayapal from Washington has also gone on record saying, “We must take this opportunity to reform Section 702 and overhaul privacy protections for Americans.”