In response to the ongoing domestic surveillance controversy, two California legislators have introduced legislation to prohibit state agencies from providing any material support to the National Security Agency.
California state Sens. Ted Lieu (D-Torrence) and Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) have introduced the Fourth Amendment Protection Act (SB 828), based on legislation promoted by the OffNow coalition. The measure would ban state agencies and subdivisions from providing public utilities, such as water, to the NSA or any other federal agency which “claims the power…to collect electronic data or metadata.”
“The National Security Agency’s massive level of spying and indiscriminate collecting of phone and electronic data on all Americans, including more than 38 million Californians, is a direct threat to our liberty and freedom,” said Lieu in a statement.
“I agree with the NSA that the world is a dangerous place,” Lieu said. “That is why our founders enacted the Bill of Rights. They understood the grave dangers of an out-of-control federal government,” he added.
Similar legislation has been introduced in a handful of other states — including Arizona, Kansas and Missouri — and has been hailed as a way to “nullify” the NSA’s controversial (and unconstitutional) domestic surveillance program.
The legislation would make information provided by the NSA inadmissible in state courts and blocks state universities from serving as research facilities for the controversial intelligence agency. It would also sanction companies if they cooperate with the NSA.
“Let’s be clear: when the government deliberately violates the Constitution on a mass basis, it poses a clear and present danger to our liberties,” said Lieu. “The last time the federal government massively violated the US Constitution, over 100,000 innocent Americans were rounded up and interned.”
The California Senate passed a resolution last year urging Congress to reform Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, the provision through which the Justice Department and NSA have claimed the power to collect Americans’ phone metadata. To this point, however, Washington hasn’t listened, though privacy advocates in Congress have momentum on their side.