NDO Fairness Act Passes the House
Time for the Senate to Act!
Bob Goodlatte, PPSA Senior Policy Advisor and former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, reacted to the unanimous passage of the Non-Disclosure Order (NDO) Fairness Act by the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill restricts the government’s currently unlimited ability to impose gag orders on telecom and digital companies. These gag orders keep these companies’ customers from learning that their sensitive, personal information has been surveilled by the government.
“This practice keeps thousands of Americans in the dark, never knowing that the government has snooped into their most sensitive, personal information – including communications that concern their health, financial transactions, and personal relationships,” Goodlatte said. “The NDO Fairness Act closes this privacy loophole in a way that balances the needs of the judicial process and public safety with the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans. When a bill is this popular – passing unanimously in the House Judiciary Committee and the full floor of the House – the Senate must take notice.
“At a time when just about everything is gridlocked in Washington, passing this measure would be a sure sign that Congress can get something done that appeals to Americans in both parties. PPSA and our civil liberties partners – left, right, and center – urge the Senate to pass the NDO Fairness Act.”
The House Judiciary Committee today passed the NDO Fairness Act by unanimous voice vote, clearing this bill for a vote on the House floor next week.
The Non-Disclosure Order (NDO) Fairness Act would place restrictions on the government’s current unlimited ability to impose gag orders on telecom and digital companies, keeping them from informing their customers that their sensitive, personal information has been surveilled. As a result, thousands of Americans – who are not suspected of any wrongdoing – never learn that communications about their health, financial transactions and personal relations have been reviewed by the government.
“We are grateful to Rep. Scott Fitzgerald and Ranking Member Jerry Nadler for working to close a privacy loophole that has evolved into a serious encroachment of Americans’ constitutional rights,” said Bob Goodlatte, PPSA Senior Policy Advisor and former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. “All the Members of the Judiciary Committee deserve our gratitude for propelling the NDO Fairness Act along to floor of the House.”
Goodlatte noted that the NDO Fairness Act passed the House by voice vote in June 2022, only to languish in the Senate.
The bill passed by the House Judiciary Committee today directs courts to more heavily scrutinize gag order requests. It sets a time limit on these gag orders, requires notice to be given to customers soon after the expiration of the order, and gives Americans standing to contest a gag order in court.
“This bill is well thought out, balancing the Fourth Amendment and privacy needs of Americans against the need to protect the judicial process and public safety,” Goodlatte said. “That is why this is such a popular bill enjoying such broad, bipartisan support. We hope the full House will swiftly pass this bill and give it new momentum in the Senate.”