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Time For Action’: Tech Giants Push Senate To Reform NSA

Congress is debating a bill meant to reform the National Security Agency's surveillance activity -- but a group of tech giants is pushing the Senate not to accept the legislation they say is far too weak.

In a letter to the Senate on Thursday, the group slammed the current version of the USA Freedom Act -- which the House passed last month -- for leaving the door open to allow the NSA's bulk collection of metadata. The legislation also lacks transparency, the group said.

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The letter was published ahead of the Senate Intelligence Committee's hearing on the USA Freedom Act at 2:30 p.m. ET on Thursday. It was signed by the CEOs of AOL, Apple, Dropbox, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and Yahoo.

The coalition concluded that it wants government surveillance to be "clearly restricted by law, proportionate to the risks, transparent, and subject to independent oversight."

The group argued that stronger reform is "in the best interest" of the country, as confidence in the Internet both at home and abroad "has been badly damaged" since Edward Snowden released information about the NSA's surveillance activity.

Thursday also marks one year since those Snowden revelations were made public. Other tech sites and advocacy groups used the anniversary to launch an online protest of NSA snooping called "Reset the Net."

The goals of the campaign, which Snowden publicly supports: Raise awareness of privacy issues and offer tools for Web users to lock down their own data.