S.139 Bill Reignites Debate over Section 702 and NSA Surveillance Reform
After much Congressional debate to expand or reform NSA surveillance late last year failed to deliver a conclusion before the sunset of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, it was temporarily extended to January 19th as part of a continuing resolution. to On January 5, the Rules Committee for the House of Representatives introduced S. 139, the first proposed bill since that sunset and extension.
As-is, this bill would not reform NSA surveillance programs to be in line with the Constitution. In particular, it lacks a strong warrant requirement. As such, Restore the Fourth is not supporting this bill. Currently, we are asking people to contact their representatives and urge them to support the one amendment being allowed to S. 139, which would replace it with Rep. Justin Amash‘s excellent USA Rights Act. This would:
- End backdoor searches and require warrants
- Close a loophole where law enforcement could engage in ‘reverse targeting’ such that they ostensibly choose a foreign target when their true interest is a US citizen that target is communicating with
- Codify the ban on ‘about collection’
- Restore the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board’s authority to report on foreign surveillance programs
“The USA RIGHTS Act is the best chance for real reform in a decade. Congress should grab this chance to restore our lost liberties with both hands.” -Alex Marthews, National Chair, Restore the Fourth
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