Google thinks that next year will be a big moment for surveillance reform. So much so that the company set up a special page on its Take Action hub asking individuals to sign something akin to a petition of sorts to “help make the Internet more secure for everyone.”Why does Google think that 2015 will be big? The company notes that “in June of 2015, we have a huge chance to protect Americans from mass surveillance when a key part of the USA PATRIOT Act is set to expire.” That’s correct. Google goes on to state that “we need to be ready to take action this coming year.”The potential sunsetting of some portions of the USA PATRIOT Act, a key piece of law that supports parts of current American government surveillance, will be a political scrap. Google and other large technology companies will have some sway through both community organising and purchased political clout.
Google’s political expenditures have skyrocketed in recent years to become among the highest in the country on a per-corporation basis. That spending growth, of course, fits under the larger rubric of tech going politics and politics going tech.
Google did not respond to a request for comment on how many sign-ups it has received on the page. Google claims that its Take Action collection has more than 3 million members.
If 2015 manages to be the year that brings real surveillance reform, it will top a 2014 that brought little but disappointment. The USA Freedom Act, which was seen as a partial step to reforming the NSA at best, failed to advance to a vote in the Senate after losing a procedural vote, thus ending any hope for reform this year.