EPIC Statement on New WIRED Report on Section 702

March 12, 2024

Today, WIRED reported that HPSCI Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) invoked the need to search for American protesters’ communications during a briefing on the need to reauthorize Section 702, a controversial and sweeping warrantless surveillance authority. According to WIRED, Chairman Turner, in opposing a warrant requirement limiting agencies’ ability to search for Americans’ communications within Section 702 databases, included slides referring to anti-war activists in New York protesting U.S. aid to Israel. While Section 702 is a foreign intelligence program, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) opinions and government reports have revealed agencies have improperly sought Americans’ communications, including protestors, donors to a political campaign, and politicians

Jeramie Scott, Senior Counsel and Director of EPIC’s Project on Surveillance Oversight: 

“Americans exercising their constitutional right to protest have a right to be free from warrantless surveillance. There should be no suggestion that foreign intelligence authorities can be used to target protestors; that would be counter to our core American values. This discussion is one more example of why Congress must pass a warrant requirement to ensure that these searches are not subject to abuse.” 

EPIC has published a blog series focused on explaining Section 702 and the need to reform it. EPIC and a bipartisan coalition of civil society groups have called for broad reform to Section 702 and related surveillance authorities. 

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