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Posted by on Dec 31, 2012 in Freedom of expression |

FISA: the law allowing warrantless spying is renewed through 2017

FISA: the law allowing warrantless spying is renewed through 2017

The U.S. Senate voted by a majority to extend the provisions of the FISA Act, which expired Monday. The controversial regulation that gives intelligence agencies the ability to spy on the country’s citizens without warrants was extended another five years , until 2017.

(Foreigh Intelligence Surveillance Act) was passed in 1978 by Carter, a regulation establishing procedures for physical and electronic surveillance in addition to collecting information from U.S. citizens and permanent residents suspected of involvement in in the country.

A law granting immunity to the authorities to engage in domestic surveillance in the country over the citizens. Also expressly authorizes the intelligence agencies to monitor phone calls without a warrant, email and all types of communications to a week without the need for the order.

For this reason, many amendments had tried to throw to the ground the possibility of renewal. Critics of the law as EFF claimed to have a regulation that violates the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Still, since the Obama administration has argued that the law:

It is necessary to maintain the security of the American people. Data collection under the law has produced and continues to produce relevant information that is vital to defend the nation against international terrorism and other threats.

Under the original wording, the law expired on Monday, finally being extended until 2017. None of the proposed amendments to the draft law that provided greater transparency and added privacy protections were finally accepted and rejected.

After approval, civil rights organizations have stated that FISA is an unconstitutional law that gives authorities monitoring citizens excessively and uncontrollably. According to the EFF:

The vote has been shameful. Make no mistake, this vote is a failure to protect the rights of citizens.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union:

Ironically, FISA, once passed to protect citizens, means the possibility of surveillance of its own citizens without warrants. The warrantless eavesdropping program, being a radical threat to the Fourth Amendment, has been institutionalized five years.

The renewal means five more years of carte blanche for the NSA to collect data on citizens under a secret interpretation to which the public is not allowed to see. Not only that, the law also allows an estimate of the number of citizens that they have “violated” their privacy.

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