FISA Amendments Act

The government is relying upon the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA) to engage in the surveillance of Americans' international phone calls, text messages, and emails. Recent disclosures show that an unknown number of purely domestic communications are also monitored, that the rules that supposedly protect Americans' privacy are weak and riddled with exceptions, and that virtually every email that goes into or out of the United States is scanned for suspicious keywords. Click here to read more about the ACLU's work to reform the FAA.

Beware of Poison Pill Spying Reform

Beware of Poison Pill Spying Reform

By Robyn Greene, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 9:57am
In the wake of revelations over the last few months about massive NSA surveillance programs that violate the privacy of millions of innocent Americans, members of the congressional Intelligence Committees have begun to draft legislation that they say will reform these authorities. There's just one problem – unlike reform bills proposed by other members of Congress, the Intelligence Committees' bills might do more to entrench domestic surveillance programs than rein them in.
NSA Surveillance: No Checks, No Balance

NSA Surveillance: No Checks, No Balance

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 1:18pm

About two weeks ago, Sens. Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court asking questions about the court's operations in advance…

In House Hearing, ACLU Tells Congress to Fix FISA

In House Hearing, ACLU Tells Congress to Fix FISA

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:21am

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security held a hearing on the government’s warrantless wiretapping program (watch here). The law authorizing the program, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, expires at…

Setting the Bar for Intelligence Reform

Setting the Bar for Intelligence Reform

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:03am

Yesterday afternoon, the first shot in the fight for comprehensive intelligence reform was fired.

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mark Udall (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) held a press conference to discuss the government's…

Warrantless Wiretapping Wins Again

Warrantless Wiretapping Wins Again

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:23pm

It’s official.  The Senate voted 72-23 last week to extend the FISA Amendments Act another five years, which President Obama signed Sunday. Unfortunately, the public discussion of George W. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program may…

Who’s a Radical Now?

Who’s a Radical Now?

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:10am

The Bipartisan Policy Center published a report last week called, “Countering Online Radicalization in America,” which strongly endorsed First Amendment principles in rejecting censorship as an appropriate tactic for addressing violent…

NYT: Government Failing to Keep Promises to Supreme Court on Warrantless Wiretapping

NYT: Government Failing to Keep Promises to Supreme Court on Warrantless Wiretapping

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 11:09am

Adam Liptak of The New York Times yesterday brought new public attention to the government's troubling failure to make good on its statements to the Supreme Court last fall, in Clapper v. Amnesty. In that case, the Supreme Court rejected the ACLU's…

Nation’s Top Spies Still Mum on How Many Americans They’ve Surveilled

Nation’s Top Spies Still Mum on How Many Americans They’ve Surveilled

By Robyn Greene, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:29pm

Last month I wrote about how Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has been rebuffed in his multi-year effort to get answers to very basic questions about how the government uses the sweeping authorities granted under the FISA Amendments Act (FISA).

Wyden…

Warrantless Wiretapping Program Expires in Three Weeks: What Will the Senate Do?

Warrantless Wiretapping Program Expires in Three Weeks: What Will the Senate Do?

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:39am

As we've told you many times, we believe the FISA Amendments Act is unconstitutional and have taken it to the Supreme Court . There’s not a vote in sight in the Senate. Frankly, that’s not a bad thing. We won't be disappointed if it…

House Reauthorizes Warrantless Wiretapping Program

House Reauthorizes Warrantless Wiretapping Program

By Ateqah Khaki at 5:53pm

Today, the House of Representatives passed a reauthorization of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, an unconstitutional domestic spying law that gives vast, unchecked surveillance authority to the government. The law, passed in July of 2008, authorizes…

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