DelBene Statement on Reining in Government Surveillance
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) applauded Senate-passage of sweeping reforms to rein in government surveillance programs, but said more should be done.
“Bulk collection of American communications records is a gross violation of our civil liberties. I’m glad Congress has finally taken action to meaningfully rein in the government’s surveillance programs. But this is just the first step in protecting Americans communications from unwarranted searches,” DelBene said. “The USA FREEDOM Act is a common-sense, bipartisan proposal. I’m glad Senate leadership realized anything less was simply unacceptable.”
The USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 2048) would end bulk data collection under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts by adding a panel of experts on things like privacy and increase transparency by making key FISA court opinions public. The bill also provides options for companies to publicly disclose information about requests they receive from the government, an important reform that DelBene led the push for in 2014. It now heads to the President’s desk for his signature before becoming law.
In the House Judiciary Committee, DelBene cosponsored an amendment that would have strengthened privacy protects by ending the “backdoor search loophole.” The amendment would have prevented government agencies from using section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to force software companies to enable the collection of personal communications.