Technology and Business Law Blog

FISA Amendment Act Passed

President Bush got his way, Congress did pass the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (also called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008, H.R. 6304) is a bill passed by the United States Congress on July 9, 2008 to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The bill provides immunity for AT&T, Verizon Communications and other U.S. telecommunications companies against 40 lawsuits alleging that they violated customers’ privacy rights by helping the government’s NSA electronic surveillance program conduct a warrantless spying program after the September 11th attacks.

The bill also:

  • Permits the government to not keep records of searches, and destroy existing records.
  • Requires FISA court permission to wiretap Americans who are overseas.
  • Prohibits targeting a foreigner to secretly eavesdrop on an American’s calls or e-mails without court approval.
  • Allows the FISA court 30 days to review existing but expiring surveillance orders before renewing them.
  • Allows eavesdropping in emergencies without court approval, provided the government files required papers within a week.
  • Prohibits the government from invoking war powers or other authorities to supersede surveillance rules in the future.

The bill broadly expands the president’s warrantless surveillance authority and unconstitutionally grants retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that participated in the president’s illegal domestic wiretapping program. Also the Justice Department is considering allowing the FBI to investigate Americans without any evidence of wrongdoing, relying instead on a terrorist profile that could single out Muslims, Arabs or other racial and ethnic groups. Currently, FBI agents need specific reasons — such as evidence or allegations that a law probably has been violated — to investigate U.S. citizens and legal residents. The new policy, law enforcement officials told the Associated Press, would let agents open preliminary terrorism investigations after mining public records and intelligence to build a profile of traits that, taken together, were deemed suspicious. Read here.

The combination of both of the above is a lethal weapon for the government to totally take over the lives of Americans and crush the dreams of our founding fathers who envisioned a country where freedom was a birth right of every person who came to the shores of U.S. Anyone of us can become a victim with no reasons given and no right to ask and no justice rendered. The fears of invasion of online privacy, identity theft or anything else pales in comparison with what is yet to come….

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July 10, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

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