The Libertarian Party endorses the Surveillance State Repeal Act (H.R. 1466) introduced by Rep Mark Pocan (D-WI), which would substantially scale back the surveillance apparatus of the U.S. government.
Nicholas Sarwark, LP Chair said, “The Surveillance State Repeal Act would dramatically improve the privacy of Americans’ personal and business communications and restore substantial Fourth Amendment rights now routinely violated by the U.S. government.”
The New York Times editorial board endorsed an earlier version of the bill, stating that it “deserves full Congressional support.”
The Surveillance State Repeal Act would:
- Repeal the PATRIOT Act (which contains the telephone metadata harvesting provision).
- Repeal the FISA Amendments Act (which contains the email harvesting provision), with the exception of the provisions regarding FISA court reporting and WMD intelligence collection.
- Make retaliation against federal national security whistleblowers illegal and provides for the termination of individuals who engage in such retaliation.
- Ensure that any FISA collection against a US Person takes place only pursuant to a valid warrant based on probable cause (which was the original FISA standard from 1978 to 2001).
- Retain the ability for government surveillance capabilities to be targeted against a specific natural person, regardless of the type of communications method(s) or device(s) being used by the subject of the surveillance.
- Retain provisions in current law dealing with the acquisition of intelligence information involving weapons of mass destruction from entities not composed primarily of U.S. Persons.
- Prohibit the government from mandating that electronic device or software manufacturers build in so-called “back doors” to allow the government to bypass encryption or other privacy technology built into said hardware and/or software.
- Increase the terms of judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) from seven to ten years and allows their reappointment.
- Mandate that the FISC utilize technologically competent Special Masters (technical and legal experts) to help determine the veracity of government claims about privacy, minimization and collection capabilities employed by the US government in FISA applications.
- Mandate that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) regularly monitor such domestic surveillance programs for compliance with the law, including responding to Member requests for investigations and whistleblower complaints of wrongdoing.
- Explicitly ban the use of Executive Order 12333 as a way of collecting bulk data, which pertains to the collection and storage of communications by U.S. persons.
“The Libertarian Party would like to see all aspects of government mass surveillance ended, including complete elimination of the secret FISA court whose work issuing warrants for terrorist and criminal suspects can be easily assumed by existing federal courts,” said Sarwark. “But this bill is a good first step.”
The Libertarian Party calls on all Americans to contact their congressmen and women and urge them to support H.R. 1466, the Surveillance State Repeal Act, and to spread this message through social media and whatever other means possible.