The Democrat controlled US House of Representatives just voted 253-175 against a bipartisan amendment that would have finally reined in some of the government’s most egregious mass surveillance practices. The Amash-Lofgren Amendment would have closed notorious loopholes in Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that the National Security Agency (NSA) has abused to conduct warrantless surveillance of American citizens’ emails, SMS messages, and Internet activity. More Democrats voted against the bill than Republicans.
Nearly 50 civil liberties organizations –– ranging from right-wing FreedomWorks to civil rights groups like Color of Change and Demand Progress to the ACLU and EFF –– sent a letter in support of the amendment. Millions of people have spoken out against the US government’s mass surveillance programs in recent years, but Congress has failed to act.
It’s good to know that House Democrats like Adam Schiff are "resisting" Trump by voting to ensure that he has limitless authority to conduct mass warrantless surveillance," said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future (pronouns: she/her).
The Democrats who voted against this common sense amendment just threw immigrants, LGBTQ folks, activists, journalists, and political dissidents under the bus by voting to rubberstamp the Trump administration’s Orwellian domestic spying capabilities.
House Republicans should be even more embarrassed. They’ve spent months complaining about the Obama administration’s abuses of FISA and then voted for the status quo when they had an actual opportunity to rein in Big Brother.
This amendment would have finally closed legal loopholes that the US government has abused to conduct sickening and pervasive monitoring and collection of the most intimate details of our lives. Congress should do their job by defending the constitution and enacting comprehensive legislation to ban mass government spying, outlaw use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement, and hold corporations accountable for collecting and misusing our data.