Today is ‘The Day We Fight Back.’ Firedoglake is joining forces with Reddit, Mozilla, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and over 6,000 other websites to promote calls to Congress in support of bringing credible reforms to the NSA.
The world has learned a lot about the ultra secretive surveillance practices of the NSA over the past year, and the overwhelming response has been in support of comprehensive reform. There’s a lot to be done: in addition to revelations of warrantless, dragnet surveillance on American communications based on exploitative interpretations of secret law, new reports indicate that NSA metadata is even used in targeting drone strikes abroad, often resulting in the deaths of innocent people.
There’s no time to waste in advancing reforms, and the USA Freedom Act is a great place to start. This legislation includes language that would end bulk phone data collection under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, install a special advocate within the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and amend the FISA Amendments Act to require that the NSA obtain a court order before accessing any of the intelligence data it has collected on Americans.
Our coalition is coordinating calls to Congress today in support of advancing reforms at the NSA by:
- Passing the USA Freedom Act, ending bulk collection of American phone records, limiting legal authority for programs like PRISM and installing key oversight mechanisms like a FISC advocate
- Defeating Senator Feinstein’s “FISA Improvements Act” which would entrench and expand NSA surveillance authority
- Enacting additional legislation to create privacy protections for non-Americans, end the NSA’s subversion of security and encryption, and other important NSA reforms not included in the USA Freedom Act
It bears repeating that the USA Freedom Act is limited in scope and must be viewed as a starting point. It lacks protections for encryption standards and fails to address the culture of excessive secrecy and over-classification that persists in our government and allows these kind of abuses to fester and grow in the dark. For this reason, we’re asking Congress not to stop with this bill, but continue on to pass other legislation that addresses these additional issues not covered by the Freedom Act. Nonetheless, this bill is deserving of our support as it begins the process of truly reining in surveillance abuses at the NSA.
Support for the USA Freedom Act and other similar legislation is especially important given the attempts by some in Congress to shield the NSA from true reform and even extend its surveillance authority. Legislation like Senator Diane Feinstein’s ‘FISA Improvements Act‘ would legalize and expand warrantless mass surveillance, allowing the NSA to search its data archives without a warrant and potentially opening NSA databases to searches by law enforcement agencies as well.
Visit our call page for your legislators’ phone number and a sample script and help us set Congress on the right track today.
Thanks in advance for being part of this important campaign.