Sanford Cosponsors USA Rights Act
WASHINGTON, DC - Representative Mark Sanford has signed on as a co-sponsor of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Reforming and Improving the Government’s High-Tech Surveillance (USA RIGHTS) Act, H.R. 4124. The bill would reform a secretive government spying program to better protect the constitutional rights of Americans.
Rep. Sanford released the following statement:
“Our Founding Fathers deliberately set up individual liberty and personal privacy as two of the hallmarks of the American experiment. But without active resistance, the normal course of things is for liberty and personal freedom to yield to the so-called good intentions of government. This bill is a win for liberty by working to lessen the risk of Americans having their privacy violated.”
The bill would reform Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which expires on December 31, 2017. This law currently allows the government to compel American companies to assist in the warrantless surveillance of foreigners. This results in the collections of an unknown number of Americans’ private communications. The goal is to end warrantless, backdoor searches of Americans’ communications that are routinely swept up under a program designed to spy on foreign targets.
Specifically, the bill would make several reforms, including those listed below:
- End the backdoor searches: Under current law, the government can conduct unlimited, warrantless searches through the data collected under Section 702 for private communications to, from, and about Americans. The bill requires a warrant for those searches.
- End reverse targeting: With no limits to the warrantless, backdoor searches of Americans, there are no checks in place to prevent “reverse targeting” of Americans communicating with foreign targets. The bill requires a warrant when a significant purpose of targeting foreigners is to collect the communications of Americans.
- Prohibit the collection of domestic communications: Section 702 is intended to collect foreign communications. The bill clarifies that it should not authorize the collection of communications known to be entirely domestic.
- Establish a four-year sunset: The bill requires congressional reauthorization in 4 years.