Congress is trying to sneak an expansion of mass surveillance into law this afternoon. We’re ACLU experts and Edward Snowden, and we’re here to help. Ask us anything.
Update: It doesn't look like a vote is going to take place today, but this fight isn't over— Congress could still sneak an expansion of mass surveillance into law this week. We have to keep the pressure on.
Update 2: That's a wrap! Thanks for your questions and for your help in the fight to rein in government spying powers.
A mass surveillance law is set to expire on December 31, and we need to make sure Congress seizes the opportunity to reform it. Sadly, however, some members of Congress actually want to expand the authority. We need to make sure their proposals do not become law.
Under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the National Security Agency operates at least two spying programs, PRISM and Upstream, which threaten our privacy and violate our Fourth Amendment rights.
The surveillance permitted under Section 702 sweeps up emails, instant messages, video chats, and phone calls, and stores them in databases that we estimate include over one billion communications. While Section 702 ostensibly allows the government to target foreigners for surveillance, based on some estimates, roughly half of these files contain information about a U.S. citizen or resident, which the government can sift through without a warrant for purposes that have nothing to do with protecting our country from foreign threats.
Some in Congress would rather extend the law as is, or make it even worse. We need to make clear to our lawmakers that we’re expecting them to rein government’s worst and most harmful spying powers. Call your member here now.
Today you’ll chat with:
u/ashgorski , Ashley Gorski, ACLU attorney with the National Security Project
u/neema_aclu, Neema Singh Guliani, ACLU legislative counsel
u/suddenlysnowden, Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower