More than 50 privacy, civil liberties, and transparency advocates sent a letter to Congressional leadership today urging them to oppose a bill that would reauthorize Section 215 of the Patriot Act without modification. Section 215, which the NSA claims gives them authority to collection telephony metadata in bulk, is set to expire June 1. The bill, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), would reauthorize Section 215 and two other provisions of the Patriot Act until 2020.
“In the absence of meaningful reform, it is unacceptable to rubber stamp reauthorization of an authority that the government has used to spy on millions of innocent Americans,” the letter said. “Section 215 of the Patriot Act was never intended to be permanent. The sunset provisions were designed to allow Congress to assess and respond to the privacy and civil rights impacts of the law.”