AUGUSTA, Maine (March 31, 2015) – A Maine bill that would turn off support and resources to the NSA in the Pine Tree State will have an important committee hearing Thursday.
Sen. Eric Brakey (R-Androscoggin) introduced LD531 On Feb. 26. His seven cosponsors literally span the political spectrum, including Republicans, Democrats and an Independent.
The Maine Fourth Amendment Protection Act would ban “material support or resources” from the state to any federal agency collecting electronic data without meeting one of three conditions.
- That person’s informed consent;
- A warrant based upon probable cause that particularly describes the person, place or thing to be searched or seized; or
- Acting in accordance with a legally recognized exception to the warrant requirements.
The Senate Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will hold a public hearing on the bill Thursday, April 2. The meeting will take place at 1 p.m. in room 438 State House.
Brakey said it was particularly important to pass LD531 in order to keep state and local law enforcement from doing an end-around past a state law requiring a warrant for the collection of electronic data. Under the proposed measure, the cops would not be able to obtain warrantless data from the feds, thus circumventing state law.
By including a prohibition on participation in the illegal collection and use of electronic data and metadata by the state, LD531 would also prohibit what NSA former Chief Technical Director William Binney called the country’s “greatest threat since the Civil War.”
The bill would ban the state from obtaining or making use of electronic data or metadata obtained by the NSA without a warrant.
Reuters revealed the extent of such NSA data sharing with state and local law enforcement in an August 2013 article. According to documents obtained by the news agency, the NSA passes information to police through a formerly secret DEA unit known Special Operations Divisions and the cases “rarely involve national security issues.” Almost all of the information involves regular criminal investigations, not terror-related investigations.
In other words, not only does the NSA collect and store this data, using it to build profiles. The agency encourages state and local law enforcement to violate the Fourth Amendment by making use of this information in their day-to-day investigations.
This is “the most threatening situation to our constitutional republic since the Civil War,” Binney said.