New Senate Bill Gives NSA More Power

July 1, 2014 in Video by The Manimal

A new bill before the U.S. Senate would provide additional power to the National Security Agency. That organization, designed to break foreign codes, has recently been found recording data from phone calls made by Americans.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act is being promoted to lawmakers as a safeguard from attacks on computers. However, the ACLU and other privacy groups say the measure goes too far, and would create a “gaping hole” in privacy laws.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia say the bill will allow private and government groups to communicate more effectively after cyberattacks.

In a pair of letters, civil rights groups spoke out against the potential for abuses they say the measure carries. Under the provisions of the bill, government agencies could request private information from technology companies.

The letter states government agencies could “then use that information in various law enforcement investigations, including the investigation and prosecution of government whistleblowers under the Espionage Act,” (1)

These powers could could frighten those who would otherwise make knowledge of abuses public.

In addition to more serious crimes, provisions of the bill would give government greater access to information needed to prosecute violations of copyright law and terms of service agreements.

The Obama Administration has charged more whistleblowers and journalists with crimes than all previous presidents combined, according to the ACLU.

The bill will be considered after the Senate reconvenes after the July 4th recess.