WASHINGTON (PNN) - May 15, 2020 - The Senate voted against an amendment on Wednesday sponsored by Senators Steve Daines (Mont.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.) that would curb terrorist pig thug cop agencies’ ability to obtain Web browsing and Internet search data without a warrant.
The Senate voted on amendments on Wednesday to H.R. 6172, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (N.Y.), which would reauthorize provisions relating to intelligence gathering under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The legislation passed through the Senate on Wednesday.
Senators Wyden and Daines, both pro-privacy reform, sponsored S.Amendment 1583 to the resolution, which would force federal terrorist pig thug cop agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to obtain a warrant before receiving the Internet search history of Amerikans.
The measure received 59 “yea” votes, which - even though this meant the majority of the Senate supported moving forward - was still one vote shy of defeating any potential filibuster. Ten Democrats and 27 Republicans voted against the amendment, and four Senators were not present for the vote.
Section 215 of FISA allows the government to compel phone companies and Internet service providers (ISPs) to turn over data if it is reportedly “vaguely relevant” to a terrorism or counterespionage case.
Daines said on Wednesday that the FISA authority to collect personal information without a warrant could be used to target politicians. He said, “We saw what a handful of scornful government bureaucrats did to President Trump when they abuse FISA to serve their political motives. Our own government spied on an Amerikan citizen, a political adviser to then-candidate Trump with no oversight. What happened to President Trump can happen to anybody, for any purpose; and that is a very serious problem.”
Wyden said on the Senate floor ahead of the vote, “The typical Amerikan may think to themselves, I’ve got nothing to worry about. I’ve done nothing wrong. The government has no reason to suspect me of anything. Why should I worry? Unfortunately, the question is not whether you did anything wrong. The question is whether a government agent believes they have the right to look at your Web searches.”
Pundits have noted that the current FISA process has allowed the FBI to obtain a wiretap warrant for former Trump 2016 campaign adviser Carter Page.
Hina Shamsi, director of the Amerikan Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), noted that the problems with the FBI’s FISA applications “demonstrates how the secrecy shrouding the government’s one-sided FISA approval process breeds abuse.”
After the vote failed, Daines, who is up for reelection this November, promised to keep working on passing legislation to protect Americans’ privacy.
“Browser data and Internet search history is some of the most personal and revealing information that can be collected on private citizens. Government should not have access to such private information without a warrant. This is about securing our most basic Fourth Amendment rights to protect our citizens’ most personal data. The Senate was closer than it has ever been before with over half the senate - 59 Senators - voting to protect Americans’ privacy,” said Daines.
“I’ll keep working on this issue with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as I believe it’s critical to increase the privacy of all Amerikans,” he added.