As the U.S. Senate readies for a vote on legislation designed to constrain some of the troubling aspects of domestic surveillance and the national security state, both advocacy groups and private industry are weighing in on the measure.A coalition of big-name technology and Internet companies—including Facebook, Apple, Twitter, and Dropbox—is lobbying Congress to pass the USA Freedom Act and thereby curb U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance powers and enact more transparency on government data requests.\u0022The Senate has an opportunity this week to vote on the bipartisan USA Freedom Act,\u0022 reads an open letter to the U.S. Senate, released by the 10 tech corporations that comprise the Reform Government Surveillance coalition. \u0022We urge you to pass the bill, ‪which both protects national security and reaffirms America’s commitment to the freedoms we all cherish.\u0022The Senate will vote Tuesday on whether to move forward and debate the bill, which was introduced in its current version by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) this July. Sixty votes are required for the legislation to advance. After obtaining the 60 votes, the Senate will then debate the bill and any amendments, and hold another vote on Wednesday or Thursday on the final text.The bill, a revised version crafted by Leahy in negotiation with the Obama administration, other legislators, and the intelligence community, would ban the bulk collection of Americans\u0026#039; telephone records and Internet metadata; expand government and corporate reporting to the public; and require the controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court, in consultation with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, \u0022to appoint a panel of special advocates who are to advance legal positions in support of individual privacy and civil liberties.\u0022It is seen as an improvement from the watered-down House version that passed in May.According to Mark Jaycox, a policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), though the Senate bill may \u0022may have some problems,\u0022 it is still \u0022a major step forward for surveillance reform.\u0022 EFF is urging its supporters to contact their senators and encourage them to pass the bill \u0022without any amendments that will weaken it.\u0022In its open letter, the Reform Government Surveillance coalition notes that \u0022the version that just passed the House of Representatives could permit bulk collection of Internet \u0026#039;metadata\u0026#039; (e.g. who you email and who emails you), something that the Administration and Congress said they intended to end. Moreover, while the House bill permits some transparency, it is critical to our customers that the bill allow companies to provide even greater detail about the number and type of government requests they receive for customer information.\u0022Supporters claim the bid to rein in government surveillance has support from both sides of the aisle.\u0022The American people are wondering whether Congress can get anything done,\u0022 Leahy said last week, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) filed the first procedural motion for the Senate to consider the bill. \u0022The answer is yes. Congress can and should take up and pass the bipartisan USA Freedom Act, without delay.”Not everyone is so confident in the legislation. In September, a coalition of whistleblowers and civil liberties organizations charged that the House version of the bill had been \u0022gutted\u0022 from its original Senate form and \u0022is not the substantive reform originally envisioned and supported by the public.\u0022And even Leahy\u0026#039;s revised version doesn\u0026#039;t have sufficient teeth for some observers.\u0022The misnamed \u0026#039;USA Freedom Act\u0026#039; holds out the promise of \u0026#039;reform,\u0026#039; but its main purpose is to mislead,\u0022 argues Justin Raimondo at\u0026nbsp;Anti-War.com. \u0022It doesn’t minimize the intrusive surveillance techniques currently used by the NSA and other government agencies: instead it codifies them, in some instances, and in other instances masks ongoing abuses.\u0022Raimondo continues:Some civil liberties groups, like the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argue that the present bill is \u0022a first step,\u0022 and is better than nothing. This is nonsense: this bill is worse than nothing. With the passage of the USA Freedom Act the momentum for real reform will be blunted and allowed to dissipate. Further efforts to roll back the awful power of the NSA will be met with cries of \u0022Didn’t we already do this?\u0022 If this bill passes, the Washington insiders will win out, and the Surveillance State will remain intact – arguably even more powerful than before.Some may say: But aren’t you taking an all-or-nothing attitude? The answer is: not at all. A real reform means a partial reining in of the NSA, with no new extensions of its reach. This bill includes a full-scale codification of abuses coupled with ambiguous and easily reinterpreted \u0022reforms\u0022 that don’t mean what they appear to mean.If the USA Freedom Act fails to pass through the Senate before the end of the year, the process will have to restart in January, when its prospects are even less predictable. The new Republican-majority Congress might look more favorably on government surveillance in the name of national security.According to a post-election analysis by the National Journal:Republicans could try to forestall a lame-duck passage of Sen. Patrick Leahy\u0026#039;s version of the USA Freedom Act, knowing they may be able to get a better hand—and credit—on an NSA reform package next year. But spying has become a cleavage issue within the GOP, and party leaders may be reticent to make the issue a priority in the next Congress.With Sen. Mark Udall gone, NSA reformers lose a vocal, dedicated ally to their cause. Udall, along with Sen. Ron Wyden, has held off endorsing Leahy\u0026#039;s version of the USA Freedom Act because of a desire to add language that would close the so-called backdoor search loophole that allows the government to \u0022incidentally\u0022 collect Americans\u0026#039; Internet communications. With just Wyden, the uphill battle to close the loophole just became steeper, but the Oregon Democrat has repeatedly insisted \u0022time is on the side of the reformers\u0022 because the Patriot Act will sunset on June 1, 2015.