Tell the Senate: Do Not Shut Down Debate on Mass Surveillance

Privacy

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Congress has had four years to consider provisions of the Patriot Act set to expire on March 15, 2020, but some Senators are attempting to quash debate about mass surveillance. H.R. 6172, or the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020, passed the House last week. It has moved on to the Senate, which is now attempting to invoke cloture—a Senate procedure used to close debate and stop any new amendments that would reform our broken surveillance system. We’re asking you to email your Senators to tell them to vote “No” on invoking cloture on H.R. 6172.

We cannot allow the push to invoke cloture to shut down debate about the future of our privacy.

Despite Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act’s record of illegality and ineffectiveness, the reforms contained in H.R. 6172 are minimal—in many cases merely representing a codification of the status quo. In addition, the bill contains provisions that would be a step back from even our flawed current law, including an additional federal criminal law.

The current bill contains several concerning provisions and omits key reforms. For example: The bill fails to require that individuals receive appropriate notice and access to information when FISA information is used against them.

The bill also fails to adequately limit the types of information that can be collected under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, and fails to raise the standard for collecting certain types of information.

Additionally, the bill fails to limit the retention of information collected under Section 215 sufficiently.

Now, some allies of the intelligence community are trying to quash debate on this important bill, before Senators are allowed to consider additional reforms that would protect our privacy. It’s time to tell your Senators that enough is enough. For years we’ve watched officials renew these broken, unhelpful, and invasive programs with no reform and with little justification for their use. Not anymore. Tell them to vote “NO” on invoking cloture on H.R. 6172.

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