Demand That Congress Actually Debate FISA Amendments Act

from the about-time dept

We’ve pointed out that the unconstitutional FISA Amendments Act (along with its secret interpretation), look likely to get renewed before the end of the year. Senator Wyden is willing to drop his hold, but if he doesn’t get certain amendments in, he wants to limit the length of the extension to a short period for the sake of having a debate. Of course, that’s the same thing that happened almost exactly one year ago.

Techdirt has joined a number of organizations, including EFF, Free Press, the ACLU, the American Library Association and many, many more in asking the Senate to actually debate the issue. The folks at EFF have set up a tool to help anyone reach out to their own Senators on the subject as well.

We write to share our concern about the reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act and the dwindling time remaining to have a meaningful debate and amendment process before your target adjournment at the end of next week. We ask that you contact your party leadership and let them know that you expect ample time for floor debate, privacy and transparency amendments, and possible conference with the House on ultimate legislation.

The FISA Amendments Act is a sweeping authority that allows the government to collect international communications without a warrant, even if an American in the US is on one end. After four and a half years, there is no information publicly available describing how many Americans are caught up in this surveillance program or what is done with the information once collected. There also hasn’t been a single minute of Senate floor time scheduled for debating the merits of this program or to considering amendments that would increase transparency of this program and insert basic privacy protections for our sensitive information in preparation for this reauthorization.

Is it really that ridiculous to think that the open debate we’ve been promised for years should be had before we reauthorize these tools? Is it really ridiculous to think that the NSA and other intelligence officials should be required to publicly reveal such basic things as how many Americans have had records swept up by intelligence agencies under these loose rules?

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Comments on “Demand That Congress Actually Debate FISA Amendments Act”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Only 30%? Were you asked? I sure wasn’t.
And what does forcing mandatory insurance coverage on the people have to do with healthcare? The insurance industry is the insurance industry and the healthcare industry is the healthcare industry.
Obama gets a lot of support from the pro-choice, my-body-my-choice crowd. Why should I be forced to insure my body if I don’t want to? Why should I have to pay a tax penalty if I choose not to? My body, my choice, right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

What does the minority party do when they lose an election … whine and moan about how wrong it is that their platform is not being implemented. Then they claim that it is not the platform that was rejected but was a lack of salesmanship which led to their downfall. This is hilariously incorrect. In fact, the only reason they held onto the House is due to gerrymandering, which they now want to expand into the realm of the electoral college. So yeah, stay on that crazy train and give us updates because we are all on the edge of our seats watching it wreck in slow motion.

PGEddington (profile) says:

I have an idea. Why not ask everybody who cares about ending the Surveillance State to 1) email/call/Tweet Senator Wyden & thank him for being a champion on civil liberties and 2) ask him to NEVER lift his hold on the bill (which would ensure it expires). We don’t need a debate about a law that has gutted the Fourth Amendment…we need to kill the law.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Agreed. You don’t offer to ‘debate’ on an the merits of an act this obviously bad, in the laughable hope that the ‘debate’ will actually do any good, you kill it, pure and simple.

The politicians involved have already indicated that they don’t care about any negative implications or effects; this is merely a publicity stunt on their part, to show that they are ‘tough on terrorism’, so the odds of enough of them actually honestly debating and potentially agreeing to add some sane limitations is a joke at best.

Anonymous Coward says:

“there is no information publicly available describing how many Americans are caught up in this surveillance program”

I can answer that question, even without ‘official’ public information. The answer is, every single American is under surveillance. Don’t believe me? Then read these articles.

Attorney General Secretly Granted Gov. Ability to Develop and Store Dossiers on Innocent Americans –

State Secrets Front and Center in Dragnet Surveillance Case –

We are all terror suspects. Every last one of us.

Anonymous Coward says:


That is the wrong question.

The right one is:

“Would you like government healthcare, controlled and checked by the same government that is in bed with insurance companies?”

Everyone wants healthcare, I just want it to be private owned and checked by the government.

Another question is “Do you want to experiment with healthcare on a nationwide scale proposing and implementing measures that the government refuse to give data about it in any useful way?”

My answer would be, not in a million years.

Where are the small scale implementations of those plans?
Where are the data?

Even though I dislike tremendously the actual system in place, I find it scary beyond measure that people are just willing to accept any half-measure that has not shown to work anywhere in a test run first.

Why doesn’t Obama or any other president for that matter comes up with many solutions and puts out a call for states to try out those system and see what happens.

Now that I would be comfortable with and would fully support without blinking an eye.

I don’t know how to fix those things on a national scale, I know what I do have to do to get some healthcare though and that is DIY style, the way things are going, I am not going to wait to see if it will work or not, I am not willing to entrust my safety and security to people who apparently have no idea what they are doing and I am sure not willing to be dependent on them for anything, so even though I can’t possibly do it all by myself I am sure to try everything I can before having to fall on that funny lucking safety net the government is saying is safe and sound.

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