Let’s shut this program down once and for all
For years we’ve said that the NSA’s mass surveillance program that collects our phone metadata under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act is unconstitutional, unnecessary, and should be ended. Now it seems that the NSA agrees with us (at least on those last two points).
According to a senior Republican congressional aide, the NSA stopped using the phone surveillance program six months ago. That’s major news!
When the program came under fire after Snowden exposed it, the NSA claimed they needed to collect our phone records in bulk or the terrorists would get us. They were happy to sacrifice our Fourth Amendment for their invasive program. And now they are not even using it!
Mass surveillance violates the Fourth Amendment, it violates our privacy, and deeply harms our democracy and our society. Mass surveillance is flat out racist and falls most heavily on historically marginalized communities, increasing the scrutiny, surveillance, and prosecution of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities.
Section 215 is set to sunset in December, and the surveillance hawks in Congress will fight to renew it, despite the fact that the phone program hasn’t stopped a single terror plot, and the NSA isn’t even using it anymore.
The PATRIOT Act flew through Congress in the weeks after 9/11. Most members never even read it. It never should have become law. We have the opportunity to repeal one important section of the law that the Intelligence Agencies have exploited to run roughshod over our privacy and our rights. Let’s stop it now.