As Congress debates the PATRIOT Act reauthorization behind closed doors, public opposition to the government’s secretive surveillance powers grows
In May, prominent Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives publicly rejected Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D–CA) efforts to renew the government’s sweeping surveillance powers without adding desperately-needed privacy protections. The embattled legislation is now being discussed in conference committee, a closed-door Congressional procedure meant to reconcile differences between the House and Senate’s preferred versions of the bill.
To prevent Congress from renewing the PATRIOT Act in secrecy without any privacy protections, human rights organization Fight for the Future has joined forces with 11 other groups with a combined reach of 19 million supporters — including Daily Kos, Demand Progress, and Free Press Action Fund — to launch a new digital campaign, StopThePatriotAct.org.
"Since its inception, the PATRIOT Act has been used to conduct warrantless surveillance on hundreds of millions of people across America," said Dayton Young, Product Director at Fight for the Future (pronouns he/him). "Intelligence and law enforcement agents have targeted Black Lives Matter protesters, Occupy Wall Street activists, journalists, whistleblowers, students, presidential campaign advisors … the list goes on and on. Even worse, the government’s own internal review board has found that all of this warrantless surveillance has failed to protect Americans from even one single terrorist attack. So let’s stop pretending that the PATRIOT Act is anything other than a tool for domestic political control. And then let’s stop the government from using the PATRIOT Act to spy on our private phone calls, text messages, emails, and Internet activity."
People who visit StopThePatriotAct.org can learn more about the long history of PATRIOT Act privacy abuses, and sign a petition urging lawmakers to reject PATRIOT Act reauthorization.