EPIC Statement on the Introduction of the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act (PLEWSA)
December 4, 2023
Representatives Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Warren Davidson (R-OH), Sara Jacobs (D-CA), and Russell Fry (R-SC) have introduced the Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act (PLEWSA), which would rein in the government’s growing ecosystem of warrantless surveillance authorities as part of reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is due to expire on December 31.
The PLEWSA’s key reforms include:
- Requiring a warrant for searches of Americans’ communications collected under Section 702;
- Bolstering the FISA Court safeguards and accountability measures for misuse of surveillance authorities;
- Codifying the end to “abouts” collection pursuant to Section 702; and
- Including the Fourth Amendment Is Not for Sale Act, which prohibits intelligence and law enforcement agencies from exploiting the Data Broker Loophole to purchase location and other sensitive information.
Jeramie Scott, Senior Counsel and Director of EPIC’s Project on Surveillance Oversight:
“The Protect Liberty and End Warrantless Surveillance Act (PLEWSA), unlike the proposals from the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, is what responsible, meaningful reform looks like. This bill builds on the bipartisan consensus—among members of Congress and the American public—that significant reform to the government’s warrantless surveillance authorities is the only path to reauthorizing Section 702. This bill encompasses key reforms, including prohibiting warrantless backdoor searches, closing the data broker loophole, and enacting a host of other vital reforms. While there is still work to be done, EPIC applauds the House Judiciary Committee for rising to this moment to address many of the most pressing harms of the government’s warrantless surveillance ecosystem.”
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.