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PCLOB Report Reveals New Abuses of FISA Section 702

A one-page document compiled by the Brennan Center in response to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board revealing new abuses of FISA Section 702, a foreign intelligence surveillance authority that the government is using to gain warrantless access to Americans’ communications, without significant and wide-ranging surveillance reforms.

Published: October 11, 2023

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was enacted to make it easier for the government to address foreign terrorist threats.  The law gives the government broad authority to surveil non-Americans located abroad, but targeting Americans is prohibited.  Unfortunately, intelligence agencies have used legal loopholes to turn Section 702 into a go-to domestic spying authority, using it to conduct hundreds of thousands of warrantless “backdoor” searches for Americans’ private communications every year.

This egregious violation of Americans’ privacy rights is compounded by the regular violations of the minimal rules governing backdoor searches.  A new report from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board reveals previously undisclosed violations of Section 702 by the FBI and NSA.  These abuses highlight why Congress must enact the comprehensive surveillance reforms recommended by the Brennan Center and a cross-partisan coalition of 30 other privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights groups.

1 Pager PCLOB Abuses by The Brennan Center for Justice