According to reports published Tuesday evening by Politico, a group of surveillance hawks in the House of Representatives is trying to ram through a bill that would extend mass surveillance by the National Security Agency. We expect a vote to happen on the House floor as early as tomorrow, which means there are only a few hours to rally opposition.
The backers of this bill are attempting to rush a vote on a bill that we’ve criticized for failing to secure Americans’ privacy. If this bill passes,we will miss the opportunity to prevent the FBI from searching through NSA databases for American communications without a warrant. Worse, nothing will be done to rein in the massive, unconstitutional surveillance of the NSA on Americans or innocent technology users worldwide.
As we wrote, the bill, originally introduced by Chairman Devin Nunes before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, “allows warrantless search of American communications, expands how collected data can be used, and treats constitutional protections as voluntary.”
The bill would create an easy path for the NSA to restart an invasive type of surveillance (called "about" searches) that the agency voluntarily ended earlier this year because of criticisms from the FISA court. It would also give FBI agents the power to decide whether or not to seek a warrant to read American communications collected under Section 702.
Backers of this bill are rushing because they know that time is on our side. If we can rally enough voices of opposition, we can delay or defeat this vote, sending a powerful message to Congress. Every day can make a huge difference in this fight because Section 702, originally enacted as part of the FISA Amendments Act—the legal authority the NSA relies on to engage in this mass surveillance—expires in 12 days.
The vote on this is likely to happen today, so there’s no time to make phone calls or send emails. We are asking people to use social media to contact their representatives. We’ve set up a tool to help you tweet at your member of Congress. We also encourage you to find other social media accounts for your representatives (such as an official Facebook account) and post a comment there.
Tweet at Congress