Domestic Spying Bill to Vastly Expand Access to Citizens’ Private Data Without Warrant

This stuff is all happening because of 911, supposedly.



Reformers had hoped that the debate over the reauthorization of a key U.S. domestic surveillance law would lead to new safeguards protecting Americans’ data.

But the bill now headed to the Senate instead expands the scope of the country’s domestic surveillance program, allowing police organizations including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to access to a far broader swathe of sensitive data on their fellow citizens than before.

Missing from the proposed legislation is any need for a warrant. A vote to require officials to seek judicial authorization before exploiting the data failed on a vote of 212 to 212 in the House of Representatives on Friday.

“It’s obviously pretty disappointing to have lost on a tie vote,” said Kia Hamadanchy, a senior policy counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU is one of scores of non-governmental organizations that have been lobbying to reform Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, which allows law enforcement to mine the massive trove of data collected by American spies.

The White House did not immediately return a message seeking comment on its lobbying. In a call with reporters on Tuesday, a White House official defended Section 702 as aimed squarely at foreigners. And a Department of Justice official defended the broader scope of the surveillance bill, saying it was an effort to adapt surveillance legislation “to the current communication technology landscape.”

That adaptation would allow U.S. spies to draw data not just from any U.S. “electronic communications service provider” – generally understood to be internet service providers and phone companies – but “any service provider” with “access to equipment that is being or may be used to transmit or store wire or electronic communications.”

The distributed nature of the internet means that could be virtually anyone, as the Information Technology Industry Council, a lobbying group, argued in a blog post.

“The language in the amendment vastly expands the U.S. government’s warrantless surveillance capabilities, damaging the competitiveness of U.S. technology companies large and small,” the group said, urging senators to reverse the change.

People don’t care.

They don’t care about anything.

People’s private lives are such a disaster, the only thing they can get energized about are these horrific scenes of children being annihilated in Gaza.