Section 702 of FISA

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorizes the warrantless collection and use of communications content and metadata for foreign intelligence purposes, so long as the target is a non-US person located overseas. Section 702 was promoted as a narrow surveillance authority, but disclosures over the last several years have confirmed that it is applied broadly and that Americans routinely end up in government run surveillance databases due to their contact with foreigners and technical glitches.

Congress reauthorized Section 702 in January 2018 for six years, setting up the next Congressional consideration for 2023. CDT has advocated for changes to protect both Americans and foreigners abroad, including a tighter nexus to terrorism and other specific security threats and warrants to protect Americans’ information.