Support the USA FREEDOM Act
The National Security Agency has gone too far, and now it’s time for Congress to rein it in.
On October 29, 2013, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) teamed up to introduce the USA FREEDOM Act in the House and Senate. The bill represents a truly bipartisan, bicameral effort to reform the government’s surveillance authorities revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, led by two powerful and respected members of Congress.
The legislation seeks to rein in the NSA by doing the following:
- End the bulk collection of Americans' records shared with third parties and put reasonable limits on Patriot Act powers targeted at people in the United States. The new restrictions would apply not only to phone records collected under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, but national security letters and pen registers that have also been abused.
- Amend the 2008 FISA Amendments Act to require the government obtain a court order before using information about Americans collected during foreign intelligence operations.
- Increase transparency by allowing communications providers to disclose the number of surveillance orders they receive, mandate the government publish how many people are subject to surveillance orders, and make public significant FISA court opinions since July 2003.
- Create a public advocate that could advise the secret surveillance court in certain cases.
The ACLU strongly supports the USA FREEDOM Act and urges everyone to contact their members of Congress and tell them to co-sponsor the true reform bill that begins to roll back the surveillance state.
Scroll to see the Congressional co-sponsors for the USA FREEDOM Act »
ACLU analysis of the USA FREEDOM Act and other efforts on Capitol Hill to reform NSA dragnet spying.
As you cruise the internet, check Facebook or shoot out a few tweets today, you might notice something strange: a massive digital protest aimed at stopping the NSA surveillance machine. Over 6,000 organizations, companies and websites have pledged their support to roll back the surveillance state by inundating members of Congress with calls, emails, tweets and Facebook posts in support of the USA Freedom Act, a bill with nearly 150 bipartisan cosponsors that would end the bulk collection of Americans' sensitive records.
The summer of Snowden is fast becoming the NSA's winter of discontent. This week, tech giants Google, Apple, Facebook and others published an open letter to President Obama and Congress urging comprehensive reform of "government surveillance efforts." Then more than 500 writers, including five Pulitzer Prize winners, signed a petition to the United Nations calling for a digital bill of rights to protect freedom and privacy online. In that eloquent way of theirs, they wrote: "A person under surveillance is no longer free; a society under surveillance is no longer a democracy."
In August, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based pro-innovation think tank, calculated that over the next three years, the U.S. cloud computing industry stands to lose as much as $35 billion as international customers find other cloud computing services rather than risk their sensitive data falling into the NSA's giant maw...
Members of Congress have introduced almost 30 separate bills to rein in NSA spying, increase transparency, or rework the secret court process that has sanctioned these programs. Two pieces of legislation, however, have momentum, and they couldn't be more different. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – the body charged with oversight of these very programs – advanced legislation introduced by its chair, Senator Dianne Feinstein (Democrat from California), last week that would entrench the current spying programs and give them explicit Congressional authorization to continue...
Over the last several months, members of Congress have introduced at least two dozen spying reform and transparency bills. Today, a new proposal called the USA FREEDOM Act from Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was introduced to significantly limit the collection and use of Americans' information under our nation's spying laws. The ACLU strongly supports the legislation. The bill is notable for its sponsors alone. Rep. Sensenbrenner was the lead author of the Patriot Act and now is the chair of the House's Subcommittee on Terrorism and Crime. A conservative member of Congress, he has repeatedly supported surveillance laws in the past, but now he's leading the charge for reform.
An easy-to-digest backgrounder on NSA spying and why it's unconstitutional.
A quick two-pager on why the ACLU supports the legislation.
Scroll to see a list of the Senate co-sponsors (20):
|Sen. Baldwin, Tammy [WI]||Sen. Begich, Mark [AK]||Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [CT]|
|Sen. Durbin, Richard [IL]||Sen. Harkin, Tom [IA]||Sen. Heinrich, Martin [NM]|
|Sen. Heller, Dean [NV]||Sen. Hirono, Mazie K. [HI]||Sen. Lee, Mike [UT]|
|Sen. Markey, Edward J. [MA]||Sen. Menendez, Robert [NJ]||Sen. Merkley, Jeff [OR]|
|Sen. Murkowski, Lisa [AK]||Sen. Schatz, Brian [HI]||Sen. Tester, Jon [MT]|
|Sen. Udall, Mark [CO]||Sen. Udall, Tom [NM]||Sen. Walsh, John E. [MT]|
|Sen. Warren, Elizabeth [MA]||Sen. Wyden, Ron [OR]|
Scroll to see a list of the House co-sponsors (134):
|Rep. Amash, Justin [MI-3]||Rep. Amodei, Mark E. [NV-2]||Rep. Bass, Karen [CA-37]|
|Rep. Bentivolio, Kerry L. [MI-11]||Rep. Bera, Ami [CA-7]||Rep. Bridenstine, Jim [OK-1]|
|Rep. Broun, Paul C. [GA-10]||Rep. Brownley, Julia [CA-26]||Rep. Blumenauer, Earl [OR-3]|
|Rep. Bonamici, Suzanne [OR-1]||Rep. Buchanan, Vern [FL-16]||Rep. Burgess, Michael C. [TX-26]|
|Rep. Campbell, John [CA-45]||Rep. Capps, Lois [CA-24]||Rep. Capuano, Michael E. [MA-7]|
|Rep. Carson, Andre [IN-7]||Rep. Chu, Judy [CA-27]||Rep. Cicilline, David N. [RI-1]|
|Rep. Coble, Howard [NC-6]||Rep. Coffman, Mike [CO-6]||Rep. Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-13]|
|Rep. Courtney, Joe [CT-2]||Rep. Cummings, Elijah E. [MD-7]||Rep. Daines, Steve [MT]|
|Rep. DeFazio, Peter A. [OR-4]||Rep. DeLauro, Rosa L. [CT-3]||Rep. DelBene, Suzan K. [WA-1]|
|Rep. Deutch, Theodore E. [FL-21]||Rep. Doyle, Michael F. [PA-14]||Rep. Duncan, John J., Jr. [TN-2]|
|Rep. Duffy, Sean P. [WI-7]||Rep. Duncan, Jeff [SC-3]||Rep. Ellison, Keith [MN-5]|
|Rep. Enyart, William L. [IL-12]||Rep. Eshoo, Anna G. [CA-18]||Rep. Farenthold, Blake [TX-27]|
|Rep. Farr, Sam [CA-20]||Rep. Fitzpatrick, Michael G. [PA-8]||Rep. Fleming, John [LA-4]|
|Rep. Gabbard, Tulsi [HI-2]||Rep. Garamendi, John [CA-3]||Rep. Garrett, Scott [NJ-5]|
|Rep. Gibson, Christopher P. [NY-19]||Rep. Gohmert, Louie [TX-1]||Rep. Gowdy, Trey [SC-4]|
|Rep. Graves, Tom [GA-14]||Rep. Grayson, Alan [FL-9]||Rep. Green, Gene [TX-29]|
|Rep. Griffin, Tim [AR-2]||Rep. Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-3]||Rep. Guthrie, Brett [KY-2]|
|Rep. Hanabusa, Colleen W. [HI-1]||Rep. Honda, Michael M. [CA-17]||Rep. Horsford, Steven A. [NV-4]|
|Rep. Huelskamp, Tim [KS-1]||Rep. Huffman, Jared [CA-2]||Rep. Hunter, Duncan D. [CA-50]|
|Rep. Issa, Darrell E. [CA-49]||Rep. Jackson Lee, Sheila [TX-18]||Rep. Jeffries, Hakeem S. [NY-8]|
|Rep. Johnson, Henry C. "Hank," Jr. [GA-4]||Rep. Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3]||Rep. Jordan, Jim [OH-4]|
|Rep. Keating, William R. [MA-9]||Rep. Kennedy, Joseph P. III [MA-4]||Rep. Kingston, Jack [GA-1]|
|Rep. Kuster, Ann M. [NH-2]||Rep. Labrador, Raul R. [ID-1]||Rep. LaMalfa, Doug [CA-1]|
|Rep. Larsen, Rick [WA-2]||Rep. Lee, Barbara [CA-13]||Rep. Lewis, John [GA-5]|
|Rep. Lofgren, Zoe [CA-19]||Rep. Long, Billy [MO-7]||Rep. Lowenthal, Alan S. [CA-47]|
|Rep. Luetkemeyer, Blaine [MO-3]||Rep. Lujan, Ben Ray [NM-3]||Rep. Lynch, Stephen F. [MA-8]|
|Rep. Massie, Thomas [KY-4]||Rep. Matsui, Doris O. [CA-6]||Rep. McClintock, Tom [CA-4]|
|Rep. McCollum, Betty [MN-4]||Rep. McDermott, Jim [WA-7]||Rep. McGovern, James P. [MA-2]|
|Rep. Messer, Luke [IN-6]||Rep. Mica, John L. [FL-7]||Rep. Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2]|
|Rep. Moore, Gwen [WI-4]||Rep. Moran, James P. [VA-8]||Rep. Mullin, Markwayne [OK-2]|
|Rep. Mulvaney, Mick [SC-5]||Rep. Nadler, Jerrold [NY-10]||Rep. Noem, Kristi L. [SD-At Large]|
|Rep. Norton, Eleanor Holmes [DC]||Rep. Nugent, Richard [FL-11]||Rep. O'Rourke, Beto [TX-16]|
|Rep. Pearce, Stevan [NM-2]||Rep. Perry, Scott [PA-4]||Rep. Petri, Thomas E. [WI-6]|
|Rep. Pingree, Chellie [ME-1]||Rep. Pocan, Mark [WI-2]||Rep. Poe, Ted [TX-2]|
|Rep. Polis, Jared [CO-2]||Rep. Quigley, Mike [IL-5]||Rep. Ribble, Reid J. [WI-8]|
|Rep. Richmond, Cedric L. [LA-2]||Rep. Roe, David P. [TN-1]||Rep. Rohrabacher, Dana [CA-48]|
|Rep. Rokita, Todd [IN-4]||Rep. Salmon, Matt [AZ-5]||Rep. Sanford, Mark [SC-1]|
|Rep. Schakowsky, Janice D. [IL-9]||Rep. Schrader, Kurt [OR-5]||Rep. Schweikert, David [AZ-6]|
|Rep. Scott, Austin [GA-8]||Rep. Scott, Robert C. "Bobby" [VA-3]||Rep. Shea-Porter, Carol [NH-1]|
|Rep. Sherman, Brad [CA-30]||Rep. Smith, Christopher H. [NJ-4]||Rep. Smith, Jason T. [MO-8]|
|Rep. Speier, Jackie [CA-14]||Rep. Stewart, Chris [UT-2]||Rep. Stockman, Steve [TX-36]|
|Rep. Swalwell, Eric [CA-15]||Rep. Terry, Lee [NE-2]||Rep. Thompson, Bennie G. [MS-2]|
|Rep. Thompson, Glenn [PA-5]||Rep. Tierney, John F. [MA-6]||Rep. Vela, Filemon [TX-34]|
|Rep. Weber, Randy K. Sr. [TX-14]||Rep. Welch, Peter [VT]||Rep. Yoder, Kevin [KS-3]|
|Rep. Yoho, Ted S. [FL-3]||Rep. Young, Don [AK]|