We have another chance to end this intrusive surveillance!
I got an e-mail from FreePress.net’ action team, calling on supporters to contact our Congressional representatives in yet another attempt to shut down the so-called PATRIOT Act’s Section 215 surveillance authorization. Here is what they have to say about this bill, passed in panic after Sept. 11, 2001.
Since 2001, a critical section of the Patriot Act has allowed the government to collect an astonishing amount of sensitive data about the daily lives of people who live in the United States. And now Congress is debating whether to reauthorize Section 215 and cement the Trump administration’s ability to spy on people without a warrant.
We can’t let this happen. Tell your member of Congress to shut down Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
As Edward Snowden revealed, Section 215 allows the government to collect incredibly sensitive information like our phone calls, location data, medical records and financial transactions. Everyone’s personal data can get swept up in Section 215. But we’re not all being surveilled equally.
Mass surveillance is racist in its impact. Instead of targeting the increasing threat of violent white supremacy, the NSA and other federal agencies likely use Section 215 to collect bulk data on Muslim communities, Black political activists and immigrants of color — all without needing to use a warrant or show probable cause.
And right now Congress might buckle to Trump’s demand to make this invasive surveillance authority permanent.
NOTE: this is worse than ever; past reauthorizations were time-limited, which is why we have another chance to sunset this. The current occupant of the people’s White House wants to further his racist agenda by making this extreme government surveillance permanent.
More from FreePressAction:
Leaks in the last month have revealed that the FBI lied about the extent of its tracking of Black activists and was covering up a program called IRON FIST that it created to target and infiltrate racial-justice groups.1 And more recently, news broke that the FBI is treating groups that are protesting the administration’s abhorrent immigration policies at the U.S. border as “extremist organizations.”2 Congress shouldn’t reauthorize these vast spying powers while the FBI is surveilling activists and trying to disrupt the fight for racial justice.
These developments are alarming: We can’t allow government agencies to use sweeping surveillance authorities to go after anyone who opposes the Trump administration’s inhumane policies.
One of GetFISARight’s last conference calls was watching Congress reauthorize Section 215 back in, I believe, 2013 or 2015. Let’s do better this time!