Tell Congress: Don’t Sell Out our Privacy in a Secret Session
UPDATE: On February 15, Congress attempted to hold the 5th secret session in 2 centuries to hide from accountability to the American public and expand the warrantless surveillance regime that Edward Snowden exposed. INSTEAD, it was delayed due to public outcry. So for now, stay tuned for the next edition of “tell them to get a warrant!” and if you can, donate to support our work.
In this secret session, government surveillance hawks will make the case for expanded abuses of our private personal data and conversations—and against modest reforms that would protect us all from warrantless government intrusions.
Despite clear opposition from civil rights, immigrant, and racial justice groups, Congressional Leadership is eager to expand its discriminatory surveillance program, FISA’s Section 702. Section 702’s abuses were exposed by Edward Snowden. It is used to surveil journalists, activists, politicians, and immigrant communities, among others.
There hasn’t been a secret session in the House of Representatives since 2008. They’re doing this to avoid accountability while selling off our privacy. It’s crystal clear how unpopular the idea of expanding harmful and invasive surveillance is—but we need to make sure our representatives know that even if we can’t see in the room, we’ll be watching if they betray us.
The important reforms are these:
- Closing the Section 702 backdoor search loophole, through which the CIA, FBI, and NSA routinely search billions of international communications — obtained without a warrant based on the government’s certification that it is targeting only non-U.S. persons located overseas — to read Americans’ phone calls, text messages, and emails. The amendment would require the government to get a warrant or FISA Title I order before searching for Americans’ communications.
- Closing the data broker loophole, which a rapidly growing number of law enforcement and intelligence agencies use to buy sensitive Fourth Amendment-protected information about Americans without a warrant. These agencies should not be able to buy their way around legal privacy protections.
We have to ACT NOW. Call your representative and demand they vote to END BACKDOOR SEARCH & DATA BROKER LOOPHOLES, and BLOCK ALL EXPANSIONS OF FISA. You can also mention that you don’t approve of a secret session at all!
Call your lawmakers Calling you now...
Introduce yourself, be polite, and say:
“I am calling to ask you to stand up against warrantless mass surveillance of Americans and vote NO on the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act UNLESS it includes amendments to end the data broker AND backdoor search loopholes. Also, it’s important to me that the unacceptable and unnecessary amendments from the Intelligence Committee be rejected. We do not need more warrantless surveillance, we need more privacy rights. And finally, I do not appreciate these decisions being made in a secret session. The abuses of FISA are wildly unpopular, and politicians who support this discriminatory policy should not be able to hide from their constituents. Thank you.”
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