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Government Surveillance, Privacy & Data

Letter to U.S. House Leadership on Amending the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020

Last week, the Senate passed the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act, along with the Leahy/Lee amendment to strengthen the role of the amicus in proceedings before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Unfortunately, not all supporters of the Wyden/Daines amendment were present. The amendment would have precluded the use of 215 orders to secure internet search or browsing history, but it failed by one vote.

With the bill headed back to the U.S. House, we joined over 50 groups urging Democratic leadership to either add the Wyden/Daines amendment to the bill, or permit the House an opportunity to vote on the amendment. Internet search and browsing history is highly sensitive, and can be revealing of an individual’s political and religious beliefs, medical ailments, or legal issues. The government should not be able to access this kind of information without a judicial finding of probable cause.