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Reforming FISA: A Critical Look at the Wyden/Udall Proposal and Foreign Surveillance

In my latest blog post at Just Security, I discuss a new bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Senators Wyden and Udall, two of the most vocal critics of the NSA, as well as Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). The Intelligence Oversight and Surveillance Reform Act's language is not available yet, but a two-page fact sheet explains its provisions. In my post, I look critically at the reforms to surveillance under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act or FAA. The bill makes critical changes, but in my opinion it does not fully address a fundamental problem with the FAA, which is that it authorizes surveillance of average citizens of other countries for reasons that are not necessarily related to the security of the United States. Fixing this problem is critical, as Chris Sprigman and I have argued before, and as Senator Udall acknowledged in the press conference announcing the bill (at 30:17). NSA’s unfettered spying has had and will continue to have an adverse economic effect on U.S.-based businesses. If we want the citizens of the world to keep using U.S. based companies, for economic and for democracy-spreading reasons, we need to address section 702.  See more on the Intelligence Oversight and Surveillance Reform Act and my proposal.

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