By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Along with colleagues from Wisconsin and Oregon, Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is leading a new effort to curb overly eager spy agencies from invading the privacy and abusing the civil liberties of people who have absolutely no connection with terrorism.
Udall and U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced the Freedoms and Privacy Act of 2013, legislation that strengthens transparency, oversight and accountability on National Security Agency domestic surveillance.
“Following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, we learned about the importance of sharing information about international terrorism between intelligence agencies and law enforcement,” Udall said. “But we need to ensure that any personal information collected on innocent Americans with no connection to terrorism or espionage is shared appropriately with law enforcement entities. We need strong, appropriate privacy protections,” he said.
“We also must ensure that the federal government provides appropriate notice when it uses information collected under or derived from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in domestic law enforcement cases. This bill would protect our security while also putting in place important constitutional safeguards,” he added.
“Over 10 years ago, I voted against the USA PATRIOT Act because I believed it would open the door to government overreach. We have now seen that secret, domestic surveillance programs at the National Security Agency have crossed the line,” Baldwin said. “This legislation improves transparency, oversight and accountability on National Security Agency domestic surveillance. It also helps ensure that our counter-terrorism efforts respect the constitutional civil liberties and freedoms of the American people.”
“The information collected under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is often shared with civilian law enforcement for criminal prosecutions,” Wyden said. “This legislation would clarify the rules for using surveillance information for domestic law enforcement to improve protections for both American security and Americans’ constitutional rights.
“It will require government agencies to be more open about their rules for handling the personal information of regular Americans with no connection to suspicious activity. Importantly, it will also require defense counsel to be notified whenever FISA information is used in criminal cases.”
The Freedoms and Privacy Act also protects Americans’ right to privacy under the 4th Amendment and improves constitutional due process procedures in relation to intelligence community and law enforcement information sharing.