The House of Representatives voted yesterday for a five-year renewal of The FISA Amendments Act.
The FISA Amendments Act, for those unfamiliar, is a warrant-less wiretapping program created during the George W. Bush administration.
Without any probable cause or a warrant, the government can bug phone calls and the e-mails of American citizens if one of the contacted parties is believed to be outside of the country. The eavesdropping is done in an effort “to acquire foreign intelligence information.” Targeted parties are unaware that their communications are being monitored and the request to intercept calls and e-mails is done by a secret FISA court. No part of this process is public to the American people.
The bill was set to expire at the end of the year but has now been extended until December 31, 2017. It was originally enforced as a security measure following the September 11 attacks. With many al-Qaeda top bosses captured or dead including leader Osama Bin Laden was it necessary to renew the act? Are you comfortable knowing the government may monitor a simple phone call to friends and family overseas?
Read the actual FISA Amendments Act here.