ADC Welcomes USA Freedom Act as First Step Toward Curtailing Illegal Surveillance


American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

ADC Welcomes USA Freedom Act as First Step Toward Curtailing Illegal Surveillance

Washington, D.C. | | June 3, 2015 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) welcomes USA Freedom Act as a first step toward curtailing illegal surveillance.

The passage of the USA Freedom Act improves the status of civil rights in this country. The new law limits how the government is able to collect and access the phone records of American citizens.

The USA Freedom Act is important because it strips the government of its power to store massive amounts of telecommunications data. Instead, agencies will have to get permission from a judge before accessing personal information, soon to be held exclusively by the phone companies. The law also demands that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the secret court in charge of overseeing surveillance programs, make itself more open to public scrutiny.

Although these two improvements of the law represent an important victory for civil rights groups, there is still work to be done. ADC notes the problems with this new legislation and calls upon its members to continue to push for surveillance reform.

ADC has compiled a list of reforms that are needed in order to correct the glaring failures in the USA Freedom Act and guarantee the constitutional right to privacy.

We must continue to advocate for:

  • The end of warrantless backdoor searches of U.S. citizen communications under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act;

  • The prohibition of warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens under Executive Order 12333;

  • The ability to both challenge and suppress evidence obtained through illegal spying in cases brought against an U.S. citizen in non-terror cases;

  • The elimination of mandates requiring data retention by companies and/or mandates that companies alter their products to enable government surveillance;

  • The full declassification of FISC opinions; and

  • The protection of the rights of whistleblowers to file constitutional complaints with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Committee and congressional intelligence committees and the prohibition against retaliations for such actions.

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