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OTI Disappointed Congress Passed Short-Term 702 Reauthorization Instead of Passing Real Reform

Today, Congress passed, as part of a bill to fund the government, a short-term reauthorization of Section 702 until January 19, 2018. This short-term reauthorization came after House Leadership’s failed attempt to force the passage of the House Intelligence Committee’s controversial Section 702 surveillance expansion and reauthorization bill, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 (H.R. 4478). After a show of overwhelming opposition from privacy advocates, members of Congress, and American citizens, House Leadership pulled the bill from consideration.

While preferable to the House Intelligence Committee’s bill, a short-term reauthorization should not enable leadership to prevent a vote on meaningful reforms that enjoy widespread support, like ending “abouts” collection and warrantless searches for Americans’ communications. When the four weeks are up, a real reform bill should be given time on the floor for a full, robust debate, and an up-or-down vote.

The following quote can be attributed to Robyn Greene, policy counsel and government affairs lead, New America’s Open Technology Institute:

“Passing a short-term extension instead of a real reform bill that would limit intrusive surveillance and stop warrantless searches for Americans’ communications is a dereliction of Congress’ duty. When this one-month extension is over, Congress must answer the calls for reform that the public has been making since the Snowden leaks began four years ago, and finally pass a bill that will rein in Section 702 surveillance.”