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US Congress & The Legislative Branch Discuss Congress Is About to Vote On Expanding the Warrantless Surveillance of Americans at the Political Forums; On Tuesday afternoon, a handful of US Representatives will convene to review an amendment that would reauthorize warrantless foreign surveillance ...

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Old 01-10-2018, 01:11 PM
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Post Congress Is About to Vote On Expanding the Warrantless Surveillance of Americans

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On Tuesday afternoon, a handful of US Representatives will convene to review an amendment that would reauthorize warrantless foreign surveillance and expand the law so that it could include American citizens. It would, in effect, legalize a surveillance practice abandoned by the NSA in 2017 in order to appease the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which found the NSA to have abused its collection capacity several times. If it passes Tuesday’s review, the bill may be voted on by the US House of Representatives as early as Thursday.

Drafted by the House Intelligence Committee last December, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 is an amendment to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). It is one of six different FISA-related bills under consideration by Congress at the moment, but by far the most damaging to the privacy rights of American citizens.

FISA was enacted in 1978, but Section 702, referred to by former FBI Director James Comey as the “crown jewels of the intelligence community,” wasn’t added until 2008. This section allows intelligence agencies to surveil any foreigner outside the US without a warrant that the agency considers a target. The problem is that this often resulted in the warrantless surveillance of US citizens as well due to two loopholes known as “backdoor searches” and “about collection.”

Backdoor search refers to a roundabout way of monitoring Americans’ communications. Since intelligence agencies are able to designate any foreigner’s communications as a target for surveillance, if this foreigner has communicated with an American this means this American’s communications are then also considered fair game for surveillance by the agency.

So-called “about collection” makes the warrantless surveillance of US citizens by intelligence agencies even easier.

As revealed by Edward Snowden's leaks in 2013, the NSA uses Section 702 to monitor internet communications in two ways: “upstream” and “downstream.” According to the NSA, downstream collection—also known as PRISM—works by picking a target selector (say, a particular email address) and monitoring communications to and from that selector. So if an American citizen were to email a foreign-targeted email address, that American’s communications would be subject to surveillance as well.
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/a...rveillance-nsa


Both parties have demonstrated a vested interest in continuing / increasing spying on U.S. citizens
It is one of the truly "bipartisan" efforts in our federal government, and the way they get much of the Repub & Dem constituency to ignore those actions only demonstrates to me how much some people are lead around by the nose.
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