While the country focuses on the coronavirus, the Senate is moving to allow the FBI to collect Americans’ web browsing and search histories without a warrant…
On today’s edition of “Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About This?” there is a showdown brewing in the U.S. Senate over the amount of power that should be given to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).
Senators like Rand Paul and Ron Wyden are pushing for legitimate checks and balances to be placed on the FISA Court. But reports claim Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to give the FISA Court even more power, by allowing it to include web browsing data and search history results in the information it hands over to the FBI.
As Reason noted, McConnell’s amendment will add “the words ‘internet website browsing records, internet search history records’ to the list of records described in FISA law that covers FBI searches that require businesses to provide customer records.”
While some Americans may argue that they are not concerned about this provision because they “have nothing to hide,” it’s important to remember that the FISA Court operates with no oversight and no accountability.
The Justice Department’s own data shows that out of nearly 34,000 surveillance requests since 1979 – only 11 were rejected.
The FBI was called out by the FISA Court last year for using the surveillance database to violate the privacy rights of Americans. The Court found that the “FBI’s efforts to search data about Americans ensnared in a warrantless internet-surveillance program intended to target foreign suspects have violated the law authorizing the program.”
After that ruling, the FBI promised it would behave, but no one faced consequences for the violations. And the FISA Court has continued to approve their requests.
While the Senate moves to give the FBI even more power without any accountability, the House of Representatives is considering legislation that would create a national database for contact tracing—conveniently named H.R. 6666.
While Americans may feel extreme measures must be taken in a time where they fear for their safety, it is important to remember that any freedoms Americans give up will not be given back without a fight—and that is something everyone should be talking about.