Make the Call: Tell Congress to Rein in Warrantless Mass Surveillance
In December, Congress temporarily reauthorized an invasive surveillance program that violates your online privacy: Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
This reauthorization was tacked on to a temporary spending bill Congress passed just before the holidays. Come Jan. 19, section 702 will expire, which means the House of Representatives must once again debate whether to protect your online privacy — or flush it down the drain.
The United States has a long history of using surveillance tools to target people of color, religious minorities and protesters — communities that are regularly under attack by the Trump administration. We can’t allow this crew to have unconstitutional spying powers to surveil vulnerable communities or crack down on political dissent.
Section 702 allows the government to monitor the communications of people in the United States without a warrant. While the targets of Section 702 surveillance are supposedly foreign entities, the program allows for dragnet-like monitoring of phone and internet conversations of “United States persons.”1 This is a clear violation of our right to privacy.
Ordinarily, if law enforcement wants to access the communications of U.S. persons, it must first get approval from a judge. But under Section 702, law enforcement can bypass that safeguard and search information collected by the NSA without a warrant.
Privacy advocates call this the “backdoor-search loophole” and Congress needs to fix it before reauthorizing the program.
Tell your representative to reject any Section 702 reauthorization bill that includes the backdoor-search loophole.
1. “Q&A: U.S. Warrantless Surveillance Under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,” Human Rights Watch, Sept. 14, 2017: https://act.freepress.net/go/17357?t=9&akid=6935%2ENone%2EkvLAH7&t=11&akid=7697%2ENone%2E3zopmx