The folks over at The Parallax write that time is running out on a U.S. spy law that allows the National Security Agency to run its most controversial surveillance programs, with no clear replacement plan in place.
Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which formally authorizes foreign-surveillance programs such as Prism and Upstream, will expire at Midnight on December 31st, though the Trump Administration believes it can run the programs until late April, based on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s one-year approval of the NSA’s targeting and minimization procedures last April.
In the meantime, the article notes, there is little in the way of progress towards a replacement bill. The Senate and House have both passed bills called the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act that would largely extend Section 702 surveillance without privacy reforms. The House Intelligence Committee approved its version on December 1.
A third bill approved in committee, the USA Liberty Act would address privacy concerns including a backdoor search loophole by requiring law enforcement agencies to get court-ordered warrants to search the NSA’s database when investigating U.S. residents for crimes unrelated to terrorism.
The bill, which passed in the House Judiciary Committee in November on a 27-8 bipartisan vote, would also officially revoke the NSA’s authorization to collect communications about foreign terrorism suspects and the people they talk to. (Collecting the communications of those suspects would remain authorized.)
However, there has been little progress since, with no public debate in the Senate this year about reauthorizing Section 702, and partisan disagreement over the extent of renewed surveillance language. The Trump Administration has also been reluctant to release information on how much domestic communications have been collected using the law.
Read the entire article, As NSA spy law authorization sunsets, lawmakers remain divided, over at The Parallax.