Congress: Let Section 215 Die
Update (June 3, 2015): On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the USA Freedom Act – a surveillance reform bill that limited mass surveillance under Section 215 of the Patriot Act and other authorities.
Even though the bill isn’t the far-reaching reform that we wanted, it represents the first time since 1978 that Congress has voted to constrain intelligence authorities. And, we are hoping it is just the first in a series of reforms to our surveillance laws.
Over the next weeks and months, lawmakers must tackle the larger project of bringing the government’s surveillance practices back in line with democratic values.
Congress hastily passed the Patriot Act after 9/11 with virtually no debate, giving the government unprecedented powers to spy on innocent people.
The Patriot Act authorized some of the most abusive and invasive surveillance programs our country has known.
Thankfully, an automatic expiration date was built in to some provisions of the law, to force Congress to have to periodically reconsider them, and prevent them from becoming permanent.
Three provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire on June 1. That includes Section 215, under which the NSA collects records all of our phone calls every day, giving the government a detailed picture of our lives and relationships.
This program is unconstitutional and ineffective, yet Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just proposed reauthorizing it, and extending it for another five years.
For the government to have such easy access to so much information about your private life is an abuse of power, plain and simple, and has nothing to do with national security.
Tell Congress you want your privacy back now. Urge your representatives to let Section 215 of the Patriot Act finally die.
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