FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 16, 2017
Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, firstname.lastname@example.org
The U.S. Senate voted 65-34 to pass S. 139, a bill that re-authorizes the U.S. government’s mass surveillance authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, without fixing major loopholes that allow for the unconstitutional domestic spying of Americans. The bill enables agencies like the NSA to continue collecting and storing massive amounts of information about innocent people without warrants or basic privacy protections for 6 more years. S. 139 also writes into law a controversial pathway to reinstate “abouts” collection, which is currently, in effect, illegal.
Lawmakers voted to reauthorize sweeping surveillance programs despite studies and security experts who say over-collection of data runs counter to investigatory best practices and makes us less safe.
Fight for the Future plans to unleash an accountability campaign to notify constituents that take the pledge how their lawmakers voted on issues like privacy ahead of the 2018 primary and general elections. Voters can take the pledge by texting FREEDOM to 384-387.
Ahead of the vote, Laila Abdelaziz (pronouns: she/her), a campaigner with Fight for the Future, issued the following statement:
“U.S. Congress just voted to trample on liberty and advance totalitarianism. The FISA reauthorization bill that just passed turns the Internet into a powerful surveillance weapon that can be used by the government against its own citizens.
This surveillance reauthorization bill completely fails to address privacy reforms Congress promised they’d tackle, like ending the government’s warrantless domestic spying powers. Instead, the bill writes into law broad surveillance authorities that the government has repeatedly abused in the past.
The right to privacy is a cornerstone of free and open societies. We’ve launched a campaign to make sure constituents know how their lawmakers voted on this fundamental issue ahead of election day. If U.S. lawmakers violate their oath to defend the constitution, they don’t belong in office.
Once the FISA reauthorization bill goes to President Trump, he should veto it. No federal agency should have the power to unconstitutionally spy on Americans.”
The bill now goes to President Donald Trump who can veto it and demand from Congress that they instead pass a FISA reauthorization bill with sound constitutional privacy protections.