Privacy SOS

The House thinks you have a right to privacy in your email. Now tell the Senate to follow suit.

The House of Representatives did something representative of their constituents' interest! In forwarding a bipartisan amendment to the military budget, the House voted overwhelmingly to bring the security state's surveillance programs more in line with the Fourth Amendment.

I like Andrew Rosenthal's take on the amendment, published at the New York Times:

The measure, whose chief sponsors are Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California, and Thomas Massie, Republican of Kentucky, passed by a vote of 293-to-123 late Thursday night. It bars the National Security Agency, the Central intelligence Agency and other spy agencies from examining without a warrant Americans’ emails and other communications that were swept up into databases created to target foreigners.

The intelligence services argue that these communications are collected legally, under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but they have never adequately explained why they cannot seek a warrant to go through them. The bill also prohibits the government from requiring a private company to alter its software to allow clandestine surveillance.

As Charlie Savage pointed out in his article today, the bill has a long way to go before it could ever become law. The intelligence agencies are already protesting, as are some members of Congress who seem overly concerned about preserving the governments’ ability to spy on its citizens without any judicial restraint or supervision.

Isn't that something? It's news in 2014 when one house of congress can agree that the American people deserve to have their Fourth Amendment rights respected. But the chances these rights will be respected are still up in the air, thanks to the arrogance and outsized influence of the security state, whose members caution that following the highest law in the land will do something really, really bad.

Tell your Senators to support the Massie-Lofgren amendment to close the NSA's tricky "backdoor" search loophole.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.