EPIC Statement on the Introduction of the SAFE Act

March 14, 2024

Today, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Security and Freedom Enhancement Act (the SAFE Act), which would reauthorize and reform FISA Section 702, the government’s controversial warrantless surveillance authority. Along with Sens. Durbin and Lee, the SAFE Act is cosponsored by Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Peter Welch (D-VT).  

The SAFE Act’s key reforms include: 

  • requiring the government to get a warrant before accessing the contents of Americans’ private communications; 
  • closing the data broker loophole; and 
  • improving the functioning of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. 

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

“EPIC commends Senators Durbin and Lee for crafting the SAFE Act. In June, Chairman Durbin said that Section 702 must only be reauthorized with significant reforms. This bill does just that. It takes a pragmatic, measured approach to reform that draws upon a wide range of proposals. In doing so, the SAFE Act reflects the broad, bipartisan consensus on reform and offers a clear path forward to reauthorizing Section 702 while ensuring that our rights are protected.” 

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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