For immediate release: May 12, 2015



On May 7th, 2015, the Second District Court of Appeals
ruled that the NSA’s bulk collection of phone call data using Section 215 of the Patriot
Act, as revealed by Edward Snowden,

is illegal

This decision, if upheld, would end the NSA’s capability
to suck up bulk phone call data.

Now Congress is trying to pass a bill—
the Orwellian “USA Freedom Act”—that would give this power back to the NSA through
new legal loopholes while appearing on the surface to reign-in the NSA.

The bill is getting voted on this week.
Don’t be fooled. It is designed to appease the public while cementing
the government’s surveillance authority for years to come.

USA Freedom Act doesn’t just fail to reform mass surveillance; it extends and expands it.

  • Extends Section 215 of the Patriot Act until 2019
    while modernizing
    it so it can suck up more information on the devices we use most commonly.
  • Expand the type of information the government can access.
    The bill expands
    call data from landlines to include VoIP calls and video chats, and likely will allow
    the government to access all data related to smartphone activity.
  • Claims to end bulk collection, but would allow the government to continue collecting huge amounts of data
    by using broad search terms to target big portions of the population and then conducting surveillance on
    anyone who is “connected” to those targets.
  • Provides legal immunity
    to companies that violate privacy laws and

    pays them
    to participate in handing over data to the government.
  • Creates broad

    “emergency” powers
    for the government to collect all kinds
    of personal data without prior court approval. The government could use
    this authority to suck up and retain massive amounts of data.
  • Allows the FBI to access data collected for counterterrorism investigations
    and use it for investigations outside of counterterrorism cases. The FBI
    can then set up
    permanent gag orders
    to prevent public oversight into their use of this data.
  • Creates a new public advocate at the FISA court but

    lets the government block the advocate from seeing any and all information

    they choose to keep secret from them.
  • Takes wind out of the sails of real reform by appearing to have addressed
    mass surveillance (without actually doing anything to fundamentally alter
    mass surveillance).

Click here to tell Congress to sunset the PATRIOT Act. 

Read more about Congress’ fake reform bill: