WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Joe Barton (R-Arlington/Ennis), co-Chairman of the Congressional Bipartisan Privacy Caucus, released the following statement after listening to President Obama’s speech addressing the U.S. surveillance controversy:

“Today, the President stated that he wants to continue the mass collection of metadata on all U.S. Citizens, but suggests that we have the private sector hold this information instead of the federal government. My question — how does this, in any way, limit the invasiveness of this program?

“While I appreciate the President’s efforts to find a solution, I still do not believe this gets to the root of the problem.

“The government should not target everyone and violate your 4th Amendment rights just because of a handful of threats. The facts simply don’t justify the mass collection of telephone numbers, call durations, and email and text messages of our citizens. In my opinion, moving this type of data collection to the private sector creates even more risks by making this type of information vulnerable to data breaches and cybersecurity attacks. Instead, we should actually abide by the law and only collect data on those who appear to be a threat to our national security.

“I hope the President is serious about his promises to work with Congress on these privacy issues. As the co-Chairman of the Congressional Bipartisan Privacy Caucus, I will continue my efforts to make sure your information is protected.”

Rep. Barton is co-founder of the Congressional Bipartisan Privacy Caucus and is a leader in Congress on providing privacy protections for personal consumer information. He is also an outspoken critic of the NSA’s data collection policies.