What to Understand About Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and Your Loss of Privacy Rights

After the passing of the Patriot Act in 2001, we have seen the erosion of privacy rights and civil liberties in the United States. Every few years though, parts of the act are supposed to expire as they should be deemed unnecessary and rights returned to US citizens.

The truth is though, once you give away your rights, you never really get them back. The Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) are living proof of this, and this year, we saw just how dangerous this can be.

In May of this year, the Senate sought to reauthorize lapsed surveillance powers under FISA, specifically Section 215 which states the government can compel phone companies and internet service providers to turn over user data if federal agencies believe the data could be relevant to a terrorism or counterespionage case. Both terms are loosely defined to make such cases so vague, they can request just about any data they want.

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