US Intelligence Agencies Urges Congress to Act Quickly on FISA Re-Authorization
Whether we admit it or not, the government of America is making all efforts to find the best way on how to protect its citizens against online criminals or hackers these days. On the other hand, there had been unwanted issues that the kind of protection it offers does not fully prevent those intruders and these types of people are continuously bothering millions of U.S. citizens for the past years.
Many are experiencing both civil and criminal concerns because despite the enforced laws of the authorities, the numbers of cybercrime victims are increasing each day and sometimes caused by the existing outdated passed laws.
Surely, the technology we have using the Internet opened the door wider to abusive people who intend to invade the privacy of their targeted victims. Even if there are surveillance platforms for online security, there are concerns on whether the government is sincere in protecting the public or not.
In line with this privacy issue, the latest reported news online revealed that the there are intelligence officials from the United States who are urging the lawmakers to “re-authorize” the existing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). According to the published information, the officials want the Congress to expedite in re-authorizing the existing Section 702 of FISA to allow them perform mass surveillance to people who are using the Internet outside America.
They want the intelligence agencies to spy Internet users in bulk.
If the Congress granted the request, this means the agencies will have the consent to spy as well as keep the data they obtained online from people who are not residents of the United States.
According to the information about FISA (a surveillance program authorized by then former US President George W. Bush, it will expire on this coming 31st of December this 2017 if the Congress has no intention to renew this existing law. As detailed through rt.com, the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday (October 31, 2017) will have to vote about the re-authorization of Section 702 in private.
This is regardless that there is a request for a public debate on this matter.
In line with this, the NSA, CIA and former national intelligence directors had submitted a letter to the Congress to allow in removing and warrant-free secret conversation to pursue. “We strongly urge the Congress to reauthorize the program and continue allowing the intelligence community to protect our country,” said the former intelligence directors as quoted by the online news.
Last month, Jeff Sessions already urge the lawmakers to speed up the process of re-authorizing a particular section on the existing FISA law. The same move conducted by Dan Coats on September who signed a submitted letter to the Congress and addressing it to the House Speaker Paul Ryan and to the other involved members of the Congress.
The current law remains as an existing legal basis for the surveillance programs of the United States, but faced unwanted issues since they revealed the secret communications between foreign officials and US President Donald Trump, as reported by the Washington Examiner.
The revelation of the conversations came through the permission of Section 702.
As detailed from the letter of Coats and Sessions, FISA’s Section 702, “allows the Intelligence Community, under a robust regime of oversight by all three branches of government, to collect vital information about international terrorists, cyber actors, individuals and entities engaged in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other important foreign intelligence targets located outside the United States.”
Sessions is an Attorney General, while Coats is a Director of National Intelligence.
The current surveillance program received massive criticism after learning that there are government agencies that spy and store conversations from millions of US citizens. If the Congress renews and re-authorizes the requested section, it permits the intelligence services to search for Internet data even without asking permission.
This allows the US-based agencies to spy conversations from foreign countries.