Congress Must Reject Pro-Surveillance in the Omnibus

Washington, D.C. – The House is set to vote on a version of the Intelligence Authorization Act that fails to include unprecedented surveillance reform provisions initially passed by a large, bipartisan majority of the House. This exclusion is deeply unsettling.

Specifically, two provisions to limit the NSA’s ability to undermine encryption and harm users, as well as a limit on the use of NSA authority to bypass constitutional protections for users in the United States – initially included in the Defense Appropriations Bill – are not included in this measure.

Access objects to Congress’ failure to address these important issues. Ignoring these important reforms would place people around the world at risk of unlawful and unauthorized access to their personal communications.

Further, use of this bill as a back door to sneak in increased government surveillance authority – in the form of draconian government data retention requirements and authorization for previously unlawful collection – is unacceptable.

Access Senior Policy Counsel Amie Stepanovich said, “Congress is moving the U.S. in the wrong direction, away from a rights-respecting democracy and toward a surveillance-state dystopia. Access urges Congress to reject any language that will subject users to further secret, untargeted surveillance.”