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House Panel Votes to Renew Surveillance Law Without New Safeguards

The House Judiciary Committee voted to reauthorize the FISA Amendments Act, HR 5949, through Dec. 31, 2017 without any changes. The Act authorizes "programs of surveillance" intended to target foreign agents, but also allows collection of private communications of United States citizens without individualized suspicion. EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg recently testified before the Committe and recommended that Congress strengthen oversight procedures to protect privacy and limit possible misuses of the legal authority. But amendments to improve accountability introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Jerold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), and Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas), were all defeated. In the Senate, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and others have expressed concern about renewal of the Act. For more information, see EPIC: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and EPIC: Clapper v. Amnesty International USA.

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