- Sputnik International
Get the latest news from around the world, live coverage, off-beat stories, features and analysis.

Watchdog: FISA Allows Searches for Americans in Massive Eavesdropping Data Cache

© REUTERS / Kacper PempelAn illustration picture shows a projection of binary code on a man holding a laptop computer.
An illustration picture shows a projection of binary code on a man holding a laptop computer. - Sputnik International
The US House of Representatives has cobbled together a backward and secretive piece of legislation known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 that is a blow to privacy rights, US Senator Ron Wyden said on Wednesday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Wyden argued the legislation is an open door for warrantless backdoor searches of Americans’ communications by US intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

"This bill is an eleventh-hour attempt to sneak an unchecked warrantless surveillance program through Congress," Wyden said. "This kind of rushed, secretive process is exactly the wrong way to write laws governing important national security programs. The legislation posted late yesterday is a clear step backward for Americans’ rights."

A sign stands outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade - Sputnik International
NSA Just Changed How It Will Gather Intelligence Under FISA 702
The senator said the measure ignores a bi-partisan bill — Uniting and Strengthening America by Reforming and Improving the Government’s High-Tech Surveillance (USA RIGHTS Act) — that was passed in the House of Representatives and Senate and would provide some privacy protections for US citizens.

Wyden pointed out that one such provision would be a stricture on reverse targeting Americans and a prohibition on collecting communications known to be entirely domestic.

Meantime, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) warned in a press release on Wednesday that a massive data base consisting of decades of intercepted communications of foreign nationals would remain open for warrantless searches by authorities seeking dirt on US citizens under legislation working its way through the US House of Representatives.

"Instead of preventing the government from warrantlessly searching Section 702 databases for information about American citizens and residents, the bill could be interpreted as codifying this illegal practice," the release stated.

The FBI headquarters building in Washington, DC. - Sputnik International
FBI Accused of Illegally Searching Americans’ Data, Per Secret FISA Docs
At issue is legislation to extend FISA beyond the measure’s December 31 expiration.

"House leadership appears poised to repeat past mistakes and quickly push for a vote on this hastily drafted legislation without giving members of Congress or the public time to debate the important privacy interests at stake," the release said.

The law, including Section 702, is typically used for electronic spying on phone conversations and electronic communications between foreign nationals who are suspected of spying, terrorism or other hostile actions targeting the United States.

ACLU charged the legislation in the House of Representatives would extend FISA for four years without addressing past abuses.

US authorities used Section 702 to eavesdrop on Trump presidential campaign and transition officials, whose conversations were swept up during surveillance of foreign nationals, according to published reports.

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала