Target: U.S. Senate
Goal: Defeat a government spying bill proposed by Senator Feinstein, which gives more power and less oversight to the National Security Agency.
After the news of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) civilian spy program became a public debate, numerous Congress members have proposed bills to regulate the agency’s powers. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California proposed a bill that on the surface pretends to enact reform, while actually granting a lot more power and a lot less oversight to the NSA. For instance, Feinstein’s bill still allows the NSA to listen to and read civilian communication without a warrant, in fact without even grounds for suspicion, the only constraint being that the NSA has to report to Congress once a year about how many people it has spied on.
By not mentioning certain types of information that the NSA collects on citizens, Feinstein’s bill tacitly endorses the collection of location information and financial records. This bill gives all “law enforcement” the ability to use any civilian information collected by the NSA to simply look for possible criminal activity. It also adds a provision to the NSA powers, by giving them a 72-hour window to tap any communication by foreign citizens upon entering U.S. soil, again without a warrant. This is a very thinly veiled attempt to reinforce NSA powers with Congressional approval, although these powers would still clearly be in direct violation of the Constitution.
The NSA, already bloated with overarching powers, has been greatly overstepping its legal bounds by collecting private information on citizens without a warrant. Under the flimsy guise of increasing accountability, Senator Feinstein is attempting legalize their unconstitutional activity, as well as broaden the possible uses of the information they collect. We can only hope that the Supreme Court will address this issue, but until then we need to block Congressional attempts at legalizing the NSA’s criminal activity. Sign the petition to tell Congress to vote against Senator Feinstein’s NSA bill.
Senator Feinstein of California has proposed a bill that pretends to increase accountability for the National Security Agency (NSA) civilian spying programs, but in reality grants them far broader powers. This bill not only eliminates the need for even suspicion of a crime in order to collect information on a civilian, but also grants “law enforcement” the ability to use the NSA databases of civilian information to look for evidence of criminal activity, again without the basis of suspicion.
There is no question that the NSA’s surveillance of private civilian information violates the Constitution and the laws currently in place. Feinstein’s bill, far from holding the NSA accountable, attempts to reward the agency with even broader and more ill-defined powers. U.S. citizens are under attack from their own government, and are being denied the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Please send a message to Senator Feinstein and the NSA by voting against this bill, and voting in favor of actual sanctions against NSA powers.
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Photo Credit: ElectronicFrontierFoundation via Flickr