THIS VOTE IS EXPECTED THIS WEEK
In December, Congress temporarily reauthorized an invasive surveillance program that violates your online privacy: Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
This reauthorization was tacked on to a temporary spending bill Congress passed just before the holidays. On Jan. 19, section 702 will expire, which means the Congress must once again debate whether to protect your online privacy.
The United States has a long history of using surveillance tools to target people of color, religious minorities and protesters — communities that are regularly under attack by the Trump administration. We can’t allow this administration to have unfettered unconstitutional spying powers to surveil vulnerable communities or crack down on political dissent.
Section 702 allows the government to monitor the communications of people in the United States without a warrant. While the targets of Section 702 surveillance are supposedly foreign entities, the program allows for dragnet-like monitoring of phone and internet conversations of “United States persons.” This is a clear violation of citizen's right to privacy.
Ordinarily if law enforcement wants to access the communications of U.S. persons, it must first get approval from a judge. But under Section 702, law enforcement can bypass that safeguard and search information collected by the NSA without a warrant. Privacy advocates call this the “backdoor-search loophole” and Congress needs to fix it before reauthorizing the program.
Trump uses his power to bully everyone from decorated war veterans to journalists to everyday people protesting his hateful agenda. Now more than ever, we need Congress to rein in warrantless mass surveillance programs that put vulnerable communities at even greater risk.
Let your representative know that you’re paying attention, and expect them to protect your privacy.