EPIC, Coalition: New FBI Procedures under FISA Section 702 “Out of Touch” with Extent of Abuse and Gravity of Privacy Threat

June 13, 2023

EPIC joined a bipartisan coalition of civil liberties organizations in rejecting the FBI’s newest attempt to preempt Congressional efforts to rein in the Bureau’s warrantless querying of U.S. person information under FISA Section 702. Ahead of this morning’s Senate Judiciary hearing on Section 702, the FBI announced internal procedural changes that are intended to increase accountability for violations of internal rules governing U.S. person queries. The changes include a “three strikes” policy for FBI agents who violate rules and provisions to incorporate FISA compliance into performance evaluations of leaders of FBI field offices. EPIC and its coalition partners emphasized that this response—coming after years of flagrant and persistent abuses—is “completely out of touch with both the level of abuse perpetrated by intelligence agencies and other serious threats to our privacy, like government agents tracking us through data brokers.” 

Ahead of the Senate Judiciary’s hearing, EPIC submitted a letter to the committee, highlighting—among other things—the need to address the government’s purchase of data as part of any reauthorization. EPIC emphasized that it is “vital that this conversation be informed by an understanding of the full scope of the government’s collection and use of Americans’ personal information.” EPIC also joined a bipartisan coalition of civil liberties organizations to urge that Congress not reauthorize Section 702 without substantial reforms to the government surveillance ecosystem. 

EPIC recently published several posts as part of a blog series focused on explaining Section 702 and the need to reform it. EPIC and its coalition partners have previously called for broad reform to Section 702 and related surveillance authorities. 

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