It is time to enact real reforms to the government’s use of national security authorities, beginning with the obvious, overdue step of prohibiting the intelligence community from using Section 215 to collect the call records of innocent Americans on an ongoing basis. Recently, the New York Times reported that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board (PCLOB) found that between 2015 and 2019, the CDR program cost $100 million taxpayer dollars, but yielded only one significant investigation.
EFF, along with other civil society advocates, has long been clear about the need for significant reform of Section 215. In fact, EFF has been suing over the NSA’s CDR program since 2006—long before the NSA admitted the program existed. In 2015, after Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 and after a federal appeals court ruled that the government’s interpretation of Section 215 was “unprecedented and unwarranted,” Congress passed the USA FREEDOM Act to amend Section 215 to stop mass surveillance of Americans’ telephone records. Although the law allowed the NSA to continue to use Section 215 to collect Americans’ call records, it substantially narrowed the program’s operation.
Tell your elected officials that enough is enough. For years we’ve watched officials renew these broken, unhelpful, and invasive programs with no reform and with little justification for their use. Not anymore. Tell them to vote NO on any clean reauthorization of Section 215.