Perhaps you’ve been following the continuing debate in Congress on NSA surveillance, and the expiration of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act that makes the dragnet possible. If so, then you likely heard that Thursday the House voted down Rep. Amash’s amendment, the USA RIGHTS Act, that would have given us real mass surveillance reform. You may also know that they approved a bill, S.139, which extends Section 702 for 6 more years.
Here’s how your representatives voted on:
We still have a chance for meaningful surveillance reform this coming Tuesday when the Senate takes up S. 139. We need 41 senators to come to the aid of the Constitution by voting no on cloture for S. 139. 27 Senators voted yesterday against the Senate considering S. 139 at all, so we only need 14 more.
If S. 139 were to pass, that would not only mean six more years of the NSA spying on American citizens, but also an expansion of ‘about collection’ abilities by law enforcement.
A no vote for cloture on S. 139 will stop it from even being considered, and open the door to considering real reform. We’re urging everyone to contact their senator’s office – but especially if you are a constituent of one of the pivotal senators below.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
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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