Whistleblower Edward Snowden warned the National Security Agency (NSA) is on the cusp of taking over the internet.

“The NSA is just DAYS from taking over the internet, and it’s not on the front page of any newspaper–because no one has noticed,” Snowden said, referencing the reauthorization of FISA Section 702.

“If the bill becomes law, any company or individual that provides ANY service whatsoever may be forced to assist in NSA surveillance, as long as they have access to equipment on which communications are transmitted or stored—such as routers, servers, cell towers, etc,” Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice,” commented.

“This bill represents one of the most dramatic and terrifying expansions of government surveillance authority in history. I will do everything in my power to stop it from passing in the Senate,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said.

Goitein called the Section 702 reauthorization the “biggest expansion of domestic surveillance since the Patriot Act.”

“I’ll explain how this new power works. Under current law, the government can compel ‘electronic communications service providers’ that have direct access to communications to assist the NSA in conducting Section 702 surveillance,” Goitein explained.

“In practice, that means companies like Verizon and Google must turn over the communications of the targets of Section 702 surveillance. (The targets must be foreigners overseas, although the communications can—and do—include communications with Americans.)”

The Project for Privacy & Surveillance Accountability (PPSA) said the FISA Section 702 bill would “virtually make everyone a spy.”


From PPSA:

Is it fair to call one amendment to the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act (RISAA) the “Everyone’s a Spy” provision? This amendment to RISAA now before the Senate would compel a provider of any service, who has “access” to communications equipment, to quietly cooperate with the NSA in collecting messages.

Because the people who work at most ordinary businesses – from fitness centers to commercial office buildings – have no expertise in parsing data, they would likely just hand over all the messages of their customers to the NSA, including countless messages between Americans.

Here’s how Sen. Ron Wyden characterized this measure on the Senate floor:

“After all, every office building in America has data cables running through it. These people are not just the engineers who install, maintain, and repair our communications infrastructure; there are countless others who could be forced to help the government spy, including those who clean offices and guard buildings. If this provision is enacted, the government could deputize any one of these people against their will and force them to become an agent for Big Brother.

“For example, by forcing an employee to insert a USB thumb drive into a server at an office they clean or guard at night.

“This could all happen without any oversight. The FISA Court won’t know about it. Congress won’t know about it. The Americans who are handed these directives will be forbidden from talking about it. And unless they can afford high priced lawyers with security clearances who know their way around the FISA Court, they will have no recourse at all.”


“The Senate is expected to vote on the House bill as soon as this week, and if it passes there, Joe Biden is likely to sign it. All Americans should be terrified by that prospect,” The Guardian writes.

The outlet said the U.S. House of Representatives didn’t just reauthorize the controversial spying law but vastly expanded it.

From The Guardian:

The vote not only reauthorized the act, though; it also vastly expanded the surveillance law enforcement can conduct. In a move that Senator Ron Wyden condemned as “terrifying”, the House also doubled down on a surveillance authority that has been used against American protesters, journalists and political donors in a chilling assault on free speech.

Section 702 in its current form allows the government to compel communications giants like Google and Verizon to turn over information. An amendment to the bill approved by the House vastly increases the law’s scope. The Turner-Himes amendment – so named for its champions Representatives Mike Turner and Jim Himes – would permit federal law enforcement to also force “any other service provider” with access to communications equipment to hand over data. That means anyone with access to a wifi router, server or even phone – anyone from a landlord to a laundromat – could be required to help the government spy.

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