Friday, October 6, 2017

The USA Liberty Act won’t stop the NSA from reading your emails, text messages or listening to your phone calls.

Yesterday, members of Congress released a draft bill to continue government surveillance under Section 702. We were hoping it would contain strong reforms to keep our government from spying on us.
But the bill, the USA Liberty Act, doesn’t go far enough to protect us, and even worse, it contains a massively problematic loophole.
Here’s what’s wrong with the bill:
  • It doesn’t stop backdoor searches, which is when the government searches through the hundreds of millions of communications it collects yearly for information on Americans and people on US soil -- all without a warrant. Instead, it okays collecting info for “a foreign intelligence purpose,” which is a loophole big enough to drive a truck through.
  • It doesn’t stop the Justice Department from using Section 702 information in investigations and prosecutions that have nothing to do with national security, because the bill doesn’t place any meaningful limits on when and how data collected under Section 702 can be shared with other agencies or used in court.
  • It doesn’t prevent “parallel construction.” Under this bill, law enforcement can still use information gathered under Section 702 (for national security purposes) to prosecute people for crimes that have nothing to do with national security, like non-violent drug charges, and then hide where the info came from.
  • It gives the NSA too many free passes. The bill adds transparency measures but doesn’t enforce them, giving the NSA leeway to ignore transparency reports if they don’t feel like complying. And there’s no public oversight into how President Trump and Attorney General Sessions interpret the 4th Amendment.
Without stronger reforms to protect people living in the US from warrantless government surveillance, the USA Liberty Act doesn’t really protect our freedom.
-Demand Progress

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