Sen. Ron Wyden was joined by privacy advocates Wednesday in forcefully condemning a new proposed amendment to the PATRIOT Act put forward by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that would greatly expand the U.S. attorney general’s surveillance powers under FISA.
McConnell’s amendment, which the Senate began debating Wednesday as lawmakers took up the reauthorization of the 2001 PATRIOT Act, would explicitly permit the FBI to collect records of Americans’ internet search and browsing histories without a warrant. It would also mandate that Attorney General William Barr, and his successors, conduct an annual review of the FBI’s submissions into the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court. Continue reading →
Protesters carried signs at a march against mass surveillance on Oct. 26, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: EFF/Flickr/cc)
Ahead of a vote that could take place in the Senate as soon as Monday evening, civil liberties groups and federal lawmakers critical of mass surveillance spoke out against House-approved legislation that would reauthorize “abusive” and “dangerous” U.S. government spying powers that expired Sunday.
The Democrat-held House was widely criticized last week for passing the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act (H.R. 6172), a bipartisan compromise negotiated by leaders in the lower chamber that includes the reauthorization of Section 215 powers that Congress established under the USA PATRIOT Act in 2001, which federal agencies have used to justify the collection of Americans’ phone records. Continue reading →
Sometimes I feel like, somebody’s watching me. (Image:Flickr)
Social media giant Facebook made a major hire Monday, bringing on lawyer Jennifer Newstead as the company’s general counsel—a move that generated criticism due to Newstead’s work two decades ago drafting the Patriot Act.
The company announced the hire by citing Newstead’s extensive work in government. Most recently, Newstead acted as the legal adviser for the State Department. Continue reading →
Then-President George W. Bush looks on as Justice Anthony Kennedy swears in Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on June 1, 2006. (Photo: Eric Draper/White House)
The media, Congress, and the American people continue to fix to their attention on Brett Kavanaugh and today’s hearings regarding allegations of sexual assault and harassment against him. While these are serious issues and should not be taken lightly, there are numerous other developments that are falling by the wayside as the national conversation remains preoccupied with the Supreme Court nominee. Continue reading →
The ongoing furor over a drastic increase in the mass confinement of migrant families and children has forced people in the United States to cast a hard look at the immigration enforcement regime that has aggressively developed in recent years.
The discussion is increasingly recasting immigrant detention centers as U.S. concentration camps. This has brought questions of justice, human and civil rights back into focus — in contrast to the Trump administration’s narrow reliance on the question of law-and-order. Continue reading →
NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. Photo public domain via Wikimedia Commons
In a move that is being hailed by civil liberties advocates as a victory for privacy rights, the U.S. Senate on Friday rejected the USA Freedom Act, a bill that sought to rein in the National Security Agency’s (NSA) spying powers but that would have reauthorized some of the most controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act.
By a vote of 57-42, the Senate did not pass the bill that would have required 60 votes to move forward, which means that the NSA must start winding down its domestic mass surveillance program this week. The Senate also rejected a two-month extension of the existing program by 54-45, also short of the necessary 60 votes. Continue reading →
With a deadline for the USA Patriot Act fast approaching, Congress has little time to decide how to proceed—but the call to ‘sunset’ the law is growing. (Photo: Dan Cook/flickr/cc/with overlay)
With the fate of the USA Patriot Act still hanging in the balance late afternoon Friday—and lawmakers eager to leave Washington, D.C., for Memorial Day barbecues and campaign stops in their home states—the chance to see the sun go down on the controversial spying bill is still on the table.
The debate over the Patriot Act is centered around one of its key provisions, Section 215, which is set to expire on June 1 absent congressional action. The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) previously relied on Section 215 to justify its mass phone data collection operation, but its expiration would force an end to that program. Continue reading →