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Will the USA Freedom Act protect privacy? Not likely.

by Michael Boldin

Yesterday, I was a guest on RT America News with Ameera David. The subject was the new USA Freedom Act introduced by Sen. Leahy. While most people talking about the bill are are spending time on what the bill would do in theory or abstract, I am more concerned with what is going to happen in reality.

I basically argued three things during the interview:

1. It’s not going to pass, and if it does, it’s only a small step forward.

2. It’s not going to pass, because Dianne Feinstein doesn’t want it to pass. She’s the chair of the Senate intelligence committee. And, as I said, “If the NSA were a business, Feinstein would be head of marketing because she pretty much loves everything they do.”

3. It’s not going to pass, but if it does, Feinstein’s CISA could also pass, meaning they’ll just use a different excuse for mass surveillance. CISA is a bill that did just pass her committee by a 12-3 vote. And this actually expands the NSA’s ability to conduct this same surveillance. So, in theory, they could pass the new Freedom Act limiting some of the NSA’s power under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, but at the same time, expand its power with CISA.

I also pointed out that there are state-level efforts happening right now, in New Hampshire, Missouri and elsewhere – that are moving privacy issues forward faster and more reliably than could ever happen in Washington DC.

The short version? I urged people to go to OffNow.org and take action on a state level.

I do hope I got that message across without stumbling around too much!

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