Three Years After Snowden, Bipartisan Coalition Demands Congress End Warrantless Spying
Three years ago on Monday, the world was shattered by news that the United States was conducting sweeping, warrantless surveillance of people, heads of state, and organizations across the globe.
To mark the anniversary of those revelations, brought forth by a then-unknown contractor working for the National Security Administration (NSA), a coalition of public interest groups have launched a new campaign fighting for the expiration of the law that the government claims authorizes its mass spying.
Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 “has allowed for mass surveillance programs, including PRISM and UPSTREAM,” —two programs exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden—”that have been used by the U.S. government to warrantlessly collect and search the Internet communications of people all over the world,” states the coalition website End702.com.
That law is scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2017. With that deadline approaching, Congress has been holding a series of committee meetings to discuss potential reforms and, as the bipartisan coalition states, are thus being forced to reckon with the government’s “politically toxic” mass surveillance program.
As surveillance watchdog and campaign organizer Fight for the Future wrote in a press statement on Monday, “with growing skepticism across the U.S. that Congress will be capable of passing a legitimate reform that protects the privacy and security of Americans,” the campaign sees “a sunset of the provision as the only realistic acceptable outcome.”
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“There can be no renewal of Section 702 unless warrantless surveillance of Americans’ private lives is stopped,” declares the coalition, which includes groups such as American Civil Liberties Union, Government Accountability Project, Arab American Institute, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), as well as conservative organizations such as the Campaign for Liberty, among others.
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