From the ACLU Action Team
Imagine that the FBI could suddenly get information about the websites you visited and the emails you sent without getting permission from a judge. Would you stop visiting certain websites? Or maybe avoid emailing your pastor, therapist, or lawyer?
This frightening invasion of your private communications could become a reality. Over the past few days, a group of senators have been trying to expand parts of the Patriot Act that allow warrantless surveillance of Americans – parts that have a history of abuse.
They only need to get one more senator to vote in favor of this proposal for it to advance. We may have a narrow window of time to tell our senators to stand up against warrantless surveillance.
If this amendment passes, the FBI could gain access to your browsing history, location information from IP addresses, and the “to” and “from” lines of your emails. All without a warrant or court order. Even if you haven’t been suspected of any wrongdoing. This would give the FBI a huge trove of information about what you do, where you go, and with whom you communicate.
This amendment undermines the Patriot Act reforms we won last year when Congress overwhelmingly voted to rein in government surveillance abuses.
Right now, the FBI is generally required to get a court order to gather this kind of private information during an investigation. But this amendment would allow the government to peer into the most intimate aspects of our lives, with little or no accountability, transparency, and oversight.