Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rep. Vern Buchanan co-sponsors bill to add oversight to National Security Agency

U.S. Vern Buchanan on Thursday signed on as a co-sponsor of the USA Freedom Act, legislation that he says would end the National Security Agency's "indiscriminate collection" of Americans' personal information.

"The National Security Agency needs to stop invading the privacy of ordinary, everyday Americans," Buchanan, a member of the Congressional Privacy Caucus, said in a news release. "Our strength as a nation flows from the values and freedoms laid out in the Constitution, including the right against unreasonable searches and seizures. The USA Freedom Act institutes the proper reforms to protect the privacy and liberties of the American people."

Buchanan, R-Sarasota, said the legislation, which was introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., includes the following reforms:
  • End the bulk collection of Americans' communications records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
  • Reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court by creating new and more robust reporting requirements to ensure Congress is aware of actions by the FISC and intelligence community as a whole.
  • Increase transparency by requiring the government to make annual or semiannual public reports estimating the total number of individuals and U.S. persons that were subject to FISA orders authorizing electronic surveillance, pen/trap devices and access to business records.
In the release, Buchanan citied examples of what he called the NSA's "unprecedented invasion into the personal lives of American citizens," including the collection of hundreds of millions of Americans' telephone records, even though they are not under suspicion or investigation; and the extraction of personal information from Google, Facebook and other Internet companies.

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