At the ACLU, Robyn Greene writes: In the wake of revelations over the last few months about massive NSA surveillance programs that violate the privacy of millions of innocent Americans, members of the congressional Intelligence Committees have begun to draft legislation that they say will reform these authorities. There’s just one problem – unlike reform bills proposed by other members of Congress, the Intelligence Committees’ bills might do more to entrench domestic surveillance programs than rein them in.
At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing last month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) described her proposals, and one thing is clear: they won’t fix anything. In fact, they may even make government surveillance worse. They include:
- Legalizing the warrantless wiretapping of people known to be located in the U.S. for 7 days where that surveillance began abroad; and
- Legalizing queries of U.S. persons’ names or e-mail addresses without probable cause, so long as it is for “articulable foreign intelligence purposes.”
These changes would represent significant expansions of the NSA’s domestic surveillance authorities under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, an already overly broad law that authorizes the suspicionless surveillance and collection of millions of Americans’ communications, including the contents of their emails. [Continue reading…]