Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Congress vs. NSA

It's starting. Representatives Justin Amish and John Conyers are fixin' to offer an amendment to defund the NSA's outrageous domestic surveillance state. Here's how to support their efforts.

From the Politico story:
“The Limiting Internet and Blanket Electronic Review of Telecommunications and Email Act” or LIBERT-E Act, the legislation also requires the secret court established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to make opinions available to Congress as well as summaries of those decisions to the public.
“We accept that free countries must engage in secret operations from time to time to protect their citizens. Free countries must not, however, operate under secret laws. Secret court opinions obscure the law. They prevent public debate on critical policy issues and they stop Congress from fulfilling its duty to enact sound laws and fix broken ones,” Amash and Conyers said in a joint statement.
And they have some support in the Senate. Here's an op-ed by Al Franken:
I'm working on legislation that will require the federal government to annually report how it uses key authorities under the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, including the authorities underlying the phone metadata and the PRISM electronic surveillance programs that recently came to light. For each of these authorities, the government must disclose how many Americans' information is being collected and how many Americans' information is being queried and actually seen by federal officers or agents.

My legislation would also allow companies to publicly report on how many Patriot and FISA orders they're getting and how many of their customers these orders affect. There's a way to do this that protects national security.
Do these efforts go far enough? Probably not. Franken's approach is far too squishy. I would prefer something along the lines of a bill that would direct Obama to blow up that new NSA data collection center in Utah.

And I don't see anything here about legislation that would force cell phone providers to give consumers the option to turn off GPS.

But before you sneer, let me ask you: When was the last time defeatism solved anything? Getting halfway there is better than not starting out -- unless your last name is Wallenda.
Comments:
Called my rep! Thanks for the link.
 
Fred Upton, Michigan Rep has leg assistant taking
full name/address info - a first maybe.
Appreciate the link.
 
Well, rather than blow up that data collection center, it could be purposed....maybe for private citizens to track the on line activities of government employees and congressmen. Frankly, if private businesses can do that to the people they pay to work for them, surely the people of the USA should be able to keep track of the folks they pay to work for them? In any case, I agree with you that the legislation in question IS a start, which is far better than nothing.
 
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