Reauthorized Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act


The Senate has passed a law that reauthorizes part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows the US government to collect and monitor electronic communications of foreign targets. The passing of this law happened on Friday, just minutes after the deadline, despite opposition from privacy advocates and former President Donald Trump.

Section 702, which has been in place since 2008, allows US intelligence officers to bypass the warrant process and compel companies such as AT&T and Google to share communications of foreigners who live outside of the US. While doing so, officials may also track messages from Americans who are engaging with foreign targets.

US officials have claimed that the intelligence gathered through Section 702 has been helpful in foiling threats and even enabled the 2022 killing of al-Qaida’s leader. However, privacy advocates are concerned about the warrantless collection of Americans’ private communications. The law has been controversial since its inception, with critics arguing that it violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures.

The reauthorization of the law extends Section 702 for two years and includes a House provision that expands the list of companies that can be compelled to comply. Previously, only telecom companies were required to cooperate with the government. Now, the list of companies has been extended to include technology and internet companies.

Advocates of the law argue that it is crucial for national security, whereas opponents believe that it infringes on civil liberties and could potentially be utilized to monitor innocent American citizens. Despite the controversy surrounding the legislation, it remains in effect.

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Senior IT Risk Analyst, Information Security and Assurance | Fordham University A Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States (CIPP/US) and Privacy Manager (CIPM) privacy professional who is a versatile and creative writer, fusing a background in communications and academics with expertise in business writing to deliver quality, customized material spanning technical, marketing, policy, and social media content. Creative, resourceful, and flexible, able to adapt to changing priorities and maintain a positive attitude, strong work ethic, and humor.

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