Senate Approves Warrantless Phone Tapping for Next Five Years

Illustration for article titled Senate Approves Warrantless Phone Tapping for Next Five Years

By a vote of 73 to 23, the US Senate just voted for the warrantless surveillance of American citizens until 2017.

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The vote, set to affirm to eradicate the FAA Sunsets Extension Act of 2012, means we'll be living with Bush-era spy laws for another half decade. In 2007, the Senate voted to grant blanket immunity to companies like AT&T, which conspired with the NSA to monitor American digital conversations without government oversight after 9/11. Today's vote continues that immunity, and provides further carte blanche for the American intelligence-gathering apparatus. Phone calls, texts, and emails are all fair game—and a judge doesn't have to give the OK, so long as it's in the name of counterterrorism. Which is a very easy guise.

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This should anger and worry you. The EFF has a nice summary of why:

The FISA Amendments Act continues to be controversial; key portions of it were challenged in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court this term. In brief, the law allows the government to get secret FISA court orders-orders that do not require probable cause like regular warrants-for any emails or phone calls going to and from overseas. The communications only have to deal with "foreign intelligence information," a broad term that can mean virtually anything. And one secret FISA order can be issued against groups or categories of people-potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of Americans at once.

The bill now goes to Obama for his signature, which it wil almost surely get—he's a vocal supporter of the legislation. Domestic spying will be a reality for the rest of his administration, and beyond. [C-SPAN]

Photo by Jacob Appelbaum

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DISCUSSION

MrSteveWins
MrSteveWins

I'm a big proponent of "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about" but I know that a lot of people aren't and it troubles me that this legislation is going through with such little public outrage. It doesn't bother me personally (I have nothing to hide...) but I know that with so much distrust of government and authority in this country, there should be more opposition. C'mon people, pay attention to your government!!