FISA 2012, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 2012, is a member in a group of surveillance laws that aims to deliver more power over the internet to the government. FISA received attention in 2008 when it was expanded to grant the NSA warrentless wiretapping authority under the Bush Administration, which has been continued and seeks to expand under the obama administration.
The ACLU has estimated that the NSA, under the authority of FISA 2012, intercepts 1.7 billion calls, emails, texts, or other forms of communication per day in America. It is also understood that under FISA, warrentless wiretaps have been conducted on Judges, politicians, journalists and not just everday citizens.
FISA 2012 was in Congressional hearing today, where EFF and others covered live:
Why can’t we know how many people are affected by FISA amendment act in the US? This kind of vagueness creates suspicions,” the EFF quotes Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan). Even before Thursday’s hearing, however, Rep. Conyers has adamantly opposed a FISA renewal. [Source]
According to Wired, lawmakers spent the day arguing merely about increasing accountability and transparency with FISA. From the various reviews I’ve read, I’ve noticed that there were few, if any, arguments on the Constitutional basis for this bill, and its clear and outright violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Most of the attitude has been to accept the bill outright, as long as there are “increases in transparency”.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. -Constitution for the United States of America
How the only demand can be “increases in transparency” baffles me… Where is the room for transparency when being warrentlessly wiretapped? How can the government intercepting and storing 1.7 billion messages a day from private citizens be more accountable?
It either is, or it isn’t. There is either a warrant required, or there is not. Every message in the 1.7 billion intercepted messages a day either has an accompanied warrant and justification, or it does not. The Fourth Amendment is either undermined and illegally rendered void, or it is enforced.
You cannot just take back someone being spied on and having their privacy stolen. Just think about it for a second, the government is literally spying on American citizens, possibly you, openly admitting to it, and claiming it is for security and that supersedes the Constitution.
FISA 2012 confirms what many of us already know, that this government is spying and stealing personal information from its own citizens without warrant. But it does beg the question, what does it mean for each of us as individuals and our country when they are openly admitting and defending it without remorse?