The current “gutted” version of the U.S.A. Freedom Act (S. 2685) will only serve to legalize government’s currently illegal surveillance of innocent civilians. A coalition of whistleblowers & civil liberties organizations published a letter calling on members of Congress to reject the empty reform.
Please click here & add your name to the letter & please contact your local representative to voice your opposition to its passage.
“Governmental security agencies’ zeal for collecting Americans’ personal information without regard for cost, efficacy, legality, or public support necessitates that Congress act to protect the rights of residents across the United States and around the globe,” writes the group under the banner of the OffNow campaign. The letter is signed by a number of intelligence community whistleblowers, including Thomas Drake and Daniel Ellsburg, as well as over 15 publications and organizations, such as RootsAction.org, CREDO Action, Fight for the Future, Restore the Fourth and the Sunlight Foundation.
The U.S.A. Freedom Act, they charge, “is not the substantive reform originally envisioned and supported by the public” after it was introduced to both houses by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) in October 2013. In late May, H.R 3361 passed the House of Representatives—after being heavily marked up by the House Judiciary subcommittee—and moved on to the Senate where it has languished in the Senate Judiciary subcommittee.
In its current form, the group says that the legislation now threatens to embolden the same violations it alleges to deter and has numerous ambiguities which make it “ripe for abuse.”
The Act, they write, “legalizes currently illegal surveillance activities, grants immunity to corporations that collaborate to violate privacy rights, reauthorizes the PATRIOT Act for an additional 2.5 years, and fails to reform EO 12333 or Section 702, other authorities used to collect large amounts of information on Americans.” …