More than 50 groups sent a letter to Congressional leadership today demanding that they shelve Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr's attempt to renew Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Despite nearly two years of revelations about the full extent of NSA spying—including how the government has interpreted this section of the Patriot Act to mean it can vacuum up the call records of millions of innocent people—these Senators want to extend Section 215, unchanged, until 2020.
The letter is loud and clear—this is unacceptable. That’s why this diverse coalition of privacy, human rights, civil rights, and transparency advocates, spanning the political spectrum:
stand united in our opposition to any proposal, such as S.1035, which would seek a straight, long-term reauthorization of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, without any corresponding reforms.
The letter confronts the Senate leaders on many of the facts that make a reauthorization of Section 215 in the absence of meaningful reform untenable:
These bulk surveillance programs raise serious constitutional concerns, erode global confidence in the American tech sector, and are unnecessary for national security.
The letter also notes the independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board’s conclusion that Section 215 prevented no terrorist attacks and did not lawfully authorize the daily, mass, suspicionless collection of Americans’ phone records.
For these reasons—and many more—the signers are demanding Congress oppose the renewal bill, S. 1035. But we need your help. Go to Fight215.org to tell Congress the bill must be shelved.