Stop the Burr Bill From Extending NSA Spying 8 Years

One of the NSA’s most powerful surveillance programs—which sweeps up the communications, emails and text messages of many U.S. persons—is scheduled to expire at the end of 2017. But a dangerous new bill seeks to enshrine this unconstitutional spying for the next eight years. Congress must stop it.

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Since 2013, when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposed broad, domestic spying by the U.S. government, the public and its representatives have learned a great deal about the intelligence community’s surveillance regime. We have learned about the breadth of NSA surveillance programs, and how domestic law enforcement accesses the communications of Americans collected by the NSA. We’ve even learned that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court—which provides judicial review on foreign surveillance—has criticized the NSA for failing to comply with U.S. law.

As Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act is up for reauthorization at the end of 2017, Congress has an opportunity to push for strong surveillance reforms that protect American communications from warrantless search.
Instead, one piece of legislation seeks to codify the NSA’s excessive surveillance powers for close to a decade. The bill, introduced by Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC), greatly threatens privacy and constitutional rights.

The FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 introduced by Senator Burr (the “Burr bill”) would:

  • Grants authority to restart “about” collection, an invasive type of surveillance that was heavily criticized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for privacy violations.
  • Fail to protect Americans from FBI agents searching their communications without first obtaining a warrant.
  • Extend domestic spying for 8 years

This bill has already passed the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and could be voted on soon. Tell Congress to stop it immediately.