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Second State Legislator Files Bill to Block NSA in Oklahoma

NSA-oklahoma-house-020514On Monday, Oklahoma Representative Lewis H. Moore’s bill, which he prefiled on January 16th received its first reading, then yesterday, Feb. 4th, it received its second reading and was referred to the committee on States’ Rights which Rep. Moore chairs. The bill that would prohibit state cooperation with the NSA and limit some of the practical effects of its vast data collection program. The bill is similar to SB1252 filed by Oklahoma Sen. Nathan Dahm earlier this month.

Based on model legislation drafted by the OffNow coalition, HB2808 makes it the policy of the state of Oklahoma to refuse to “provide material support, participation or assistance in any form with any federal agency which claims the power to authorize, or with any federal law, rule, regulation or order which purports to authorize, the collection of electronic data or metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant…”

The “Oklahoma Privacy Protection Act” addresses the relationship between the state and the NSA in four ways.

First, it prohibits state and local agencies from providing any material support to the NSA within their jurisdiction. This includes barring government-owned utilities from providing water and electricity if the agency ever builds a facility within the state.

Second, it blocks state universities from serving as NSA research facilities or recruiting grounds. Four Oklahoma state schools currently have partnerships with the NSA. These “Centers for Academic Excellence” serve as recruiting grounds and provide research to the agency. HB2808 would prevent other state schools from forming partnerships, in addition to addressing relationships currently in place.

Third, the bill blocks corporations doing business with the NSA from doing business with state or local governments. This will disincentivize private businesses from supporting unconstitutional spying.

Finally, it makes information gathered without a warrant by the NSA and shared with law enforcement inadmissible in state court.

This final provision will have the biggest immediate impact in Oklahoma.

A Reuters report in August, 2013, revealed that the NSA ‘s secretive Special Operations Division (SOD) is “funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.” Documents obtained by Reuters show that these cases “rarely involve national security issues,” and that the SOD directs local law enforcement to “conceal how such investigations truly begin.”

The NSA also shares information though state fusion centers. After the Patriot Act opened the door to increased information sharing between state and federal government, the feds created what is known as Information Sharing Environment (ISE). Federal agencies and departments which make up ISE include those in charge of the NSA/CSS. Per the ISE website, fusion centers serve the purpose of local and state law enforcement receiving information from those partner federal agencies.

With the Oklahoma Privacy Protection Act in place, defense attorneys will be able to challenge data gathered without a warrants and passed on to state or local law enforcement.  Such data would be excluded as evidence. Judges will be obligated to disallow data gathered without a warrant.

“We know the NSA is sharing unconstitutionally gathered information with state and local law enforcement agencies – and it has nothing to do with keeping us safe from terrorists. This should offend every American who cares about the Constitution,” Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey. “Oklahoma may not be able to stop the NSA from vacuuming up the data, but it can darn sure make it as useless as a three dollar bill to state and local cops.”

Moore’s bill includes penalties for state and local agents violating the act and further would bar private contractors and business from any future state business for violating this act.

ACTION ITEMS

In Oklahoma: Take action to support HB2808 HERE.

Other states: Contact your state legislators today – urge them to introduce similar legislation.  Model bills and contact info HERE.

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