On March 1, 2017, Liza Goitein testified before the House Committee on the Judiciary regarding Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. The FISA Amendments Act is set to expire at the end of 2017, providing Congress with an opportunity to review and reform the surveillance authorities provided by the act.
Section 702 gives the government the authority, when acting inside the United States, to target any person or group reasonably believed to be foreign and located overseas for surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes. The government can then collect all of that person or group’s communications, including communications with Americans—as well as any communications about the target—without obtaining a warrant. In practice, this likely results in the collection of millions of Americans’ communications—communications that, once collected, can be stored for years and searched by the FBI for use in criminal proceedings with no relationship to foreign intelligence whatsoever. The Brennan Center’s testimony urges Congress to seize the opportunity to reform Section 702, to better safeguard privacy and Fourth Amendment rights.
Liza Goitein has also testified before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary regarding the FISA Amendments Act. See her May 10, 2016 testimony at Oversight and Reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act: The Balance between National Security, Privacy, and Civil Liberties here.