(HorizonPost.com) – Earlier this month, the Cato Institute held a conference in which several speakers called for reforms to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which is set to expire at the end of the year, The Epoch Times reported.
While speaking at the conference, the Center for Democrat and Technology’s Jake Laperruque said that the abuse of Section 702 isn’t just “random typos or wrong clicks,” instead it is on an “epic” scale, with agencies pulling up information on US citizens “without any suspicion of wrongdoing.”
Laperruque said there have been examples of Section 702 being used on reporters, campaign donors, and “a domestic political party,” adding that this “politically focused surveillance” is especially “worrisome.”
In 2008, Congress added Section 702 to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to authorize warrantless searches of electronic communications of non-citizens located outside of the United States.
But according to a report from the Brennan Center for Justice, since 2006, the NSA has been collecting phone records of millions of US citizens through regularly-renewed requests from the FBI.
Additionally, the Brennan Center found that the NSA has gained access to data from nine of the leading internet service providers through the use of a computer network called PRISM.
The Brennan Center’s senior director Elizabeth Goitein told attendees at the conference that Congress did two things to ensure that Section 702 was not used to make an “end run” around the Fourth Amendment. It required that the collection, sharing, and retention of the personal information of American citizens be minimized and that the government must certify with the FISA court each year that it is not using Section 702 to gain access to Americans’ communications.
However, Goitein added, neither of these stipulations is working. She said the agencies that receive data using Section 702 are allowed to run electronic searches to find and retrieve electronic communications on American citizens, including phone calls, emails, and text messages.
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