Press Releases

DelBene Opposes Bill that Undermines Americans’ Rights to Privacy

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Washington, D.C., January 11, 2018 | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) opposed S. 139, a bill that extends the authority of government agencies to conduct warrantless searches of Americans’ private communications under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) without any reforms.

“Bulk collection of American communications records is a gross violation of our civil liberties and we must protect these communications from warrantless searches,” DelBene said. “Our first priority must always be keeping Americans safe and I believe we can find a balance between respecting the Fourth Amendment and protecting our national security. This legislation fails to make the critical reforms needed to address the privacy concerns of Americans, which is why I oppose it.”

In 2015, DelBene successfully lead an effort to reform Section 215 of the Patriot Act through passage of the USA FREEDOM Act, which ended the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records. Section 702 of FISA authorizes surveillance of foreign individuals located outside the United States without a warrant, but has been revealed as a program that is also sweeping up large volumes of Americans’ communications, which may in turn be accessed by U.S. law enforcement to help investigate or prosecute domestic criminal matters. S. 139 would allow government agencies to continue using this backdoor search loophole for another six years.

DelBene has also cosponsored several measures to protect the privacy of Americans from warrantless searches, such the Email Privacy Act and the Online Communications and Geolocation Protection Act.

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