A proposed bill would be the biggest expansion of government surveillance in decades


Congress is poised to enact the biggest expansion of government surveillance power since the Patriot Act.

The House has passed a radical amendment to a surveillance bill that would give the federal government sweeping authority to compel private American citizens and companies to spy for the National Security Agency.

Under current law, only “electronic communications service providers” such as Verizon and Google are subject to turn over communications to the government. With this new amendment, an enormous range of entities, from barber shops to laundromats to IT service providers, would be subject to this coercion.

The potential for abuse is staggering. There would be nothing to stop this administration — or a future one — from using the power to its fullest.

The Senate should remove this dangerous provision. If it does not, Senators should vote against the bill.

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