Congress to Address U.S. Surveillance Methods

Posted February 3, 2015 at 5:05am

Foreign Policy reports that “for more than a year, Congress has avoided resolving the searing debate over how government spooks can track down terrorists while still protecting Americans’ privacy. With laws allowing for the collection of billions of phone and Internet records set to expire, however, lawmakers will finally have to make a choice.”  

“Facing a June 1 deadline, Congress will have to decide whether to renew, revamp, or retire post-9/11 surveillance methods like the bulk collection and storage of phone and other data. The debate will unfold in the shadow of the deadly attack in Paris against Charlie Hebdo magazine, and it comes as Britain considers giving its own intelligence agencies more authority to do greater surveillance. Additionally, concerns over the Islamic State’s efforts to recruit potential fighters across Europe and America has fueled demands for sharper spycraft.”  

“But the call for preserving civil liberties has its own staunch supporters across the world. U.S. snooping has outraged Americans and foreign allies since June 2013, when former government contractor Edward Snowden revealed information on classified global surveillance programs that involved the U.K., Australia, and Canada, as well as details of an operation that allowed the National Security Agency to access Americans’ Google and Yahoo accounts. Stung by the criticism, Barack Obama’s administration is expected to soon issue a report showing how it has sought to keep spies from overreaching. And a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers is prepared to push anew for reforms that fell short last year.”