Stop Congress from allowing Obama’s NSA to collect more of your personal data

Yes we scan

At a time when the National Security Agency can collect the phone records and communications of millions of innocent Americans without a warrant or cause, the Senate Intelligence Committee is pushing a measure that would allow the controversial agency to access more of our personal information.

Privacy and public interest organizations have come out strongly against the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), a measure that will make it easier for businesses to share information with the federal government, including the NSA.

In a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), and committee members, the organizations explained how CISA poses a risk to Americans’ privacy.

“Over the last year,” the letter states, “the public has learned that the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies have significantly stretched the meaning of statutory provisions of law in order to gather sensitive information on hundreds of millions of Americans.”

The organizations behind the letter include the American Civil Liberties Union, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, FreedomWorks, and the R Street Institute.

The organizations explain that the NSA simply isn’t an honest player when it comes to Americans’ civil liberties. The intelligence agency has searched Americans’ communications without a warrant using laws that authorize the surveillance of only people outside of the United States and has exploited vulnerabilities in tech firms’ software and programs.

“CISA ignores these revelations. Instead of reining in NSA surveillance, the bill would facilitate a vast flow of private communications data to the NSA,” the letter notes. “CISA omits many of the civil liberties protections that were incorporated, after thorough consideration, into the cybersecurity legislation the Senate last considered.”

The specific issues the organizations have with CISA are that it would militarize civilian cybersecurity efforts, forcing private companies to share information with the federal government, and that the measure could turn “a backdoor for warrantless use of information the government receives for investigations and prosecutions of crimes unrelated to cybersecurity.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, separately, warns information obtained without a warrant under CIPA, if passed, could be used in criminal investigations, undermining due process, and could lead to a crackdown on whistleblowers.

The measure also failures to protect the personally identifiable information of Americans, it harms Internet users because of the overbroad definition of “cybersecurity threat,” and could impose on the net neutrality regulations adopted by the Federal Communications Commission.

Basically, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act doesn’t reform the intelligence collection efforts by the federal government to protect Americans against violations of their civil liberties, it would empower the NSA, which is a terrible idea after the what the public learned about what little respect the intelligence community has for their privacy.

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