Wednesday, May 11, 2016

In Hearing on Internet Surveillance, Nobody Knows How Many Americans Impacted in Data Collection

In Hearing on Internet Surveillance, Nobody Knows How Many Americans Impacted in Data Collection


The Senate Judiciary Committee held an open hearing today on the FISA Amendments Act, the law that ostensibly authorizes the digital surveillance of hundreds of millions of people both in the United States and around the world. Section 702 of the law, scheduled to expire next year, is designed to allow U.S. intelligence services to collect signals intelligence on foreign targets related to our national security interests. However—thanks to the leaks of many whistleblowers including Edward Snowden, the work of investigative journalists, and statements by public officials—we now know that the FISA Amendments Act has been used to sweep up data on hundreds of millions of people who have no connection to a terrorist investigation, including countless Americans.

What do we mean by “countless”? As became increasingly clear in the hearing today, the exact number of Americans impacted by this surveillance is unknown