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As one of our more than 6.9 million FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the End Warrantless Surveillance of Americans Act, H.R. 2233. Introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Thomas Massie (R-KY), this bill would take huge strides towards curtailing the government’s ability to access to Americans’ electronic communications without a warrant.
The Fourth Amendment makes very clear that the government has an obligation to obtain a warrant before searching and seizing the property of American citizens – a basic part of the due process of law. Unfortunately, in the digital age the government has consistently treated digital communications and metadata as if they are different somehow – as if reading your emails or tracking your phone calls somehow falls under a different category than opening and reading your physical letters.
This bill closes the backdoor search loophole under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Though FISA was intended to ease the surveillance of foreign nationals suspected of crimes or plots, the government has held that the communications of U.S. citizens inadvertently scooped up as a result of this surveillance is fair game for the government to read. H.R. 2233 stops this abuse, and also prohibits the targeting of a foreign person under FISA for the purpose of acquiring data about Americans.
In addition, this bill prohibits the government from requiring private companies to include surveillance “back doors” in their products in order to permit unauthorized access by government agents. These backdoor vulnerabilities can potentially open products up to exploitation by foreign entities and hackers in addition to the U.S. government, and have undermined trust in U.S. tech products.
This bill also addresses the warrantless surveillance conducted under the auspices of executive orders, such as the Reagan-era executive order 12333, except under certain extenuating circumstances.
Taken together, these reforms would represent a truly significant leap towards restoring constitutional boundaries to the government’s ability to spy on Americans. They would also go a long way towards restoring trust among law-abiding citizens and business owners that their activities and communications remain their own, without an Orwellian Big Brother watching their every move.
Thus, I hope you’ll contact your representative and ask him or her to support the End Warrantless Surveillance of Americans Act (H.R. 2233) and to co-sponsor the bill if they have not already done so.
Matt Kibbe President & Founder, FreedomWorks