Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allows for the government to perform dragnet surveillance and backdoor searches of phone and email records. The practice is a direct violation of the Constitution and has been used as a tool for the unlawful targeting of racial, religious, and political minorities.
The good news: it’s about to expire.
The bad news: the D.C. establishment wants to reauthorize it.
According to a report at Wired:
“Section 702 allows for warrantless surveillance of conversations between people in the US and in foreign countries. The law passed in 2008 during the George W. Bush’s presidency, was extended by the Obama administration, and is now set to expire at the end of 2017, unless Congress reauthorizes the provision — a move the Trump administration supports.”
While Section 702 was designed to keep protect us from the threat of terrorism, it is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment because it allows the government to use a blanket “warrant” to collect Americans records.
The Constitution requires the warrant to be individualized and detailing the places to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. I think our Founding Fathers required those things for a reason, and Americans should not be so quick to give up their constitutional rights.
But at the end of this year we get the rare opportunity to take back some liberty – by simply letting FISA Section 702 expire.
Senator Rand Paul recently joined his colleague, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), at the CATO Institute for a discussion on “The Future of Surveillance: Reform, Repeal, or Renewal for Section 702?” Together they discussed surveillance reform, Section 702 expiration, and their Protecting Data at the Borders Act (S.823).
You can watch the entire discussion here:
During the discussion, Senator Paul asks the important question: “Liberty and security are not mutually exclusive, so why are we being asked to sacrifice one for the other?”
America’s Liberty PAC doesn’t believe we should have to sacrifice one for the other and will proudly fight against reauthorization of FISA Section 702 or any other expansion of the surveillance state.
As Bonnie Kristian wrote at Rare.us, “This expiration is an enormous opportunity to get rid of a lot of unconstitutional mass surveillance — and the only thing Congress has to do to make it happen is nothing at all.”