The USA Freedom Act, a bill advertised to curtail the government’s broad surveillance authority is unlikely to get a vote in Congress before November’s elections, and even a vote in the lame-duck session is in doubt.
A quote from a National Journal report elaborates:
The inaction amounts to another stinging setback for reform advocates, who have been agitating for legislation that would rein in the National Security Agency ever since Edward Snowden’s leaks surfaced last summer. It also deflates a sudden surge in pressure on Congress to pass the USA Freedom Act, which scored a stunning endorsement from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper last week.
This news should not surprise anyone.
After all, Congress does not exactly have a sterling record of defending the rights of the people.
And the fact that NSA head James Clapper, revealed a liar by information provided by Edward Snowden last year, supports this “reform.”
The fact that someone like Clapper stands behind this measure is a tell tale sign that it will not protect the 4th Amendment. Like most federal-level ‘reform’ efforts, the U.S. Freedom Act is little more than a ruse. If it passes, it will only succeed at pulling the wool back over the eyes of Americans. If anything, it will increase the power of the NSA’s illegal spying program due to the vague manner in which it was written.
Internet culture leader and community Internet pioneer Sascha Meinrath summed up the problems with the U.S. Freedom Act by saying, “This bill can be interpreted in numerous different ways, which has previously proven to be a major problem. So, the problem is not just that the bill fails to stop many kind of abuses, but that it can be interpreted as actually authorizing more aggressive spying on us than before. If civil liberties groups disagree on the interpretation of this bill, imagine what the NSA’s interpretations will look like.”
We must focus our time and energy on reforms that can work, and actually put a stop to NSA spying. That is what OffNow is all about. Our plan circumvents Washington D.C. completely, working through the state levels of government. This can work because the NSA relies on much more of our support than it wants us to realize. Without state support, it will be virtually impossible for the NSA to violate our privacy rights on a grand scale.
States are already pushing back. Over a dozen states, including Utah, introduced 4th Amendment Protection Acts last year to deny material support and compliance to the NSA. Many more states are passing other important legislation to stop the location tracking of cell phones, prevent the gathering of electronic data without a warrant, and limit the use of drones for surveillance. These measures represent steps in the right direction, but we need a true shift in the public consciousness to achieve victory. The public must fully reject federal influence for good, and work for positive change closer to home.
Don’t believe the federal bureaucrats when they say they will get their acts in order. They have proven that they are either unwilling or incapable of policing themselves. It is take for the people to rise up and force them to stop their illegal behavior. That is what OffNow is all about. We cannot afford to tolerate corruption from our government any longer. Join us, and help us to bring REAL reform and accountability to the NSA and all other federal agencies acting outside of the bounds of the Constitution.