With all the recent news of spying afloat, members of various Internet and tech trade groups are pushing the US Senate to put limitations on spying programs that are run by the National Security Agency. Among the groups is the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) which represents Apple, Google and Microsoft.

CEA President and CEO, Gary Shapiro, sent a letter addressed to upcoming majority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and to all senators stating that bulk data collection techniques used by the NSA has cost the tech industry “millions of dollars” in lucrative foreign government contracts. He added that some countries don’t allow data to flow freely across borders due to all of the spying that has been going on. Shapiro wrote the following regarding the matter:

American technology companies have been hurt by reaction to the revelation of the U.S. government's bulk data collection. Many companies have lost business, or face laws designed to restrict data flows, due to foreign governments' fear that the U.S. government can reach company-managed data at will.
The Senate bill, S. 2685, also known as the USA FREEDOM Act, which is a piece of legislation that would not only end a key NSA program that harvests customer data from millions of users within the US but also allows companies more leeway to report government requests for data. Instead of collecting the bulk data, the NSA would instead be required to obtain the proper authority by the law then seek phone records from individual carriers. Under this proposed law, the data would be devoid of phone call content, positioning data and other carrier information. This particular bill was and still is supported by the CEA, the Information Technology Industry Council and The Internet Association.

On its end, the Cupertino California company has worked to bring consumers as much information as possible regarding government requests for customer data. In 2013, Apple even published its first public report detailing the requests as well. Earlier this year, CEO Tim Cook said he would “absolutely” press Congress to allow companies more leeway clarity on the issue.

All of these efforts are surfacing on the verge of a new congressional season which is set to start in January. The new season will be seeing Republicans take over as the majority, many of which support government surveillance programs, giving trade groups very little time to push through meaningful legislation under a Democratic Congress. The Senate is set to vote on the USA FREEDOM Act on November 18th so we’ll have to wait and see what happens then.

Source: Bloomberg, CEA (PDF) via AppleInsider