Added: Kong Ensign - Date: 14.03.2022 22:55 - Views: 13823 - Clicks: 6023
Jump to Skip . Ending this program is a good first step, but as Congress debates expiring Patriot Act provisions this year, it needs to do much more to protect individual rights, including eliminating the phone record authority altogether. In , Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA had been collecting the phone records of virtually every single American, relying on a twisted interpretation of Section of the Patriot Act. The information collected by the government included who called whom, when, and for how long.
But under the newly constituted program, the NSA collected over million records in alone. Further, the new program has been beset by years-long compliance violations that resulted in the unlawful collection of countless records. Now, news reports suggest that the NSA may have voluntarily halted the program.
The NSA has yet to confirm why, and it may have simply replicated this collection under a different authority. Even if these reports are true, however, Congress must still act to prevent this program from ever being resurrected. In the past, the NSA has argued that it retains the authority to restart surveillance programs it voluntarily ends.
The agency will likely take the same position here. Even aside from the call detail records program, the government collects a staggering amount of information under Section Despite the reforms, this collection does not appear to be targeted and narrow. For example, in , investigations of 74 targets resulted in the disproportionate collection of information regarding 87, unique phone s, addresses, or other identifiers.
Unlike surveillance prior to the Patriot Act, under Section , the government can target individuals who are not members of terrorist organizations, affiliated with foreign nations, or suspected of any criminal wrongdoing at all. This extremely low bar leaves ample room for government abuse, evidenced by the fact that for over a decade the government interpreted this standard as permitting the collection of records of nearly everyone in the U.
Given this history, Congress should allow Section to expire at the end of this year unless the law can be substantially reformed to prevent rights intrusions. In addition to Section , however, Congress must also revisit other surveillance authorities that the government still abuses.
According to transparency reports, the government continues to collect information about tens of thousands of unique s under other Patriot Act authorities that were changed in Congress must pass additional reforms to halt this large-scale surveillance and put in place safeguards to prevent these powers from being used as a tool to target minorities, suppress journalists and critics, or circumvent existing criminal laws. For example, Congress must adopt procedures that prevent the government from engaging in practices that wrongly target or impact people based on race, religion, national origin, or other protected classes.
This is particularly important given the ample evidence of bias in intelligence analyses and practices. Congress must also strengthen existing First Amendment protections. Yet partially redacted intelligence court opinions suggest that these safeguards are being interpreted far too narrowly. The reforms also did not address concerns that large-scale surveillance would likely sweep in the information of individuals, like journalists, engaged in First Amendment-protected activities.
The FBI and other agencies should be prohibited from searching and using this information for purposes unrelated to why it was collected, circumventing existing protections that exist in the criminal context. They must also meet their constitutional obligation to provide notice to individuals when this information is used in criminal proceedings — something that they have denied they have the responsibility to do when using information from Section and other authorities.
Congress also needs to reform the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, in part by requiring more declassification of its opinions, ensuring transparency. Even if the NSA call records program has ended, that is not enough to protect our rights. Congress must end the call-detail-record authority altogether. In addition, it must take steps to put an end to other abuses under Section and similar surveillance authorities. Speak Freely. Facebook Twitter Reddit Print. But this alone is not enough. Fight for everyone's rights - support the ACLU. Leave this field blank. Related Stories.
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