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What Freedom Represents in the Context of the New Spying Legislation by FISA


The controversial spying program used by the NSA and the FBI to deal with crime leads has been the center of many debates on whether or not it interferes with the USA Liberty Act. The US Senate Judiciary Committee has analyzed the issue and has again reauthorized Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). This proposed legislation allows certain institutions to gather communications for information on specific targets.

FISA is the center of controversies

FISA has been criticized by many citizens and some theories suggest that the plan is to build a vast database on US citizens even if that would be prohibited by law. According to critics the FISA allows snoops to do a massive sweep of communications instead of only dealing with the targeted individuals.

Others believe that the program needs more transparency, accountability and a new leadership in order to avoid these speculations and negative beliefs.

The USA Liberty ACT

According to the draft law, institutions such as the FBI require a legitimate motive which would endanger national security to be authorized to search the database. A court order is also necessary to look at seized communications database. For citizens’ metadata FBI agents need only request permission from their superiors. Many people consider this to be illegal and a break of the Fourth Amendment.

The law proposed says that the safeguards must see that surveillance services keep their records up to date and that they submit them to Congressional oversight. Also, the Director of the National Intelligence (DNI) has the duty to report to the US Congress twice year and state the number of US citizen whose communications were collected. The DNI must also report the number of requests that identified US citizens.

So far there is little evidence to decide whether the law will have a positive impact or not.