Dear Senator Durbin: Co-Sponsor the GSRA

Today, the Government Surveillance Reform Act (GSRA) was launched. The GSRA is a bicameral, bipartisan, once-in-a-lifetime bill that systemically limits government surveillance by reforming FISA Section 702, closing the data-broker loophole, and updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986.

We need you to write to your senator, Dick Durbin, and ask him to cosponsor it.

The GSRA is the best answer to the upcoming expiration of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), an intrusive spying authority that sweeps up many thousands' of Americans communications every year. FBI agents abuse this authority to spy on protesters, worshippers, and even to stalk people.

Senator Durbin currently chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. In June of this year, Durbin opened the Senate Judiciary Hearing on Oversight of FISA Section 702 with the following remarks:

"Section 702 does not sufficiently protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans. [...] Billions of communications are collected and stored on government databases. The government can then search these databases for Americans' emails, phone calls, and text messages - all without a warrant. [...] The court charged with overseeing this program has found 'persistent and widespread' violations of the rules governing Section 702. [...] I will only support the reauthorization of Section 702 if there are significant - significant - reforms. And that means, first and foremost, addressing the warrantless surveillance of Americans in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Moreover, the reforms must also include safeguards to prevent future abuses and ensure effective oversight by Congress and the courts."

The GSRA contains the significant reforms Durbin called for months ago. Durbin backs his concerns with mass government surveillance with a strong voting record. He already voted in 2020 for amendments parallel to the provisions in the GSRA that would have required a civil liberties amicus in most Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court hearings, and prohibited the FBI from collecting your web browsing history without a warrant. Durbin has also proposed measures to limit warrantless, broad "roving wiretaps" authorized under FISA.

The GSRA tackles these issues, and requires that:

  • FBI and other intelligence officials must acquire a warrant prior to querying the Section 702 NSA database for U.S. persons' communications, with exceptions carved out for exigent circumstances and individuals that have given prior consent to a search
  • Limits the purpose and scope of Section 702 to foreign intelligence only
  • Sets up accountability procedures for negligent violations of querying procedures
  • Requires transparency measures that disclose, in a timely manner, the number of U.S. persons targeted under Section 702 as well as significant Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) opinions
  • Closes the "data broker loophole" so that federal agencies can't buy their way around the Fourth Amendment

And much, much more.

We're not kidding when we say that the GSRA is the best surveillance reform opportunity since the Restore The Fourth's founding back in 2013.

Please help us in this key moment, by writing to Senator Durbin to ask that he co-sponsors this legislation.

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Belmont, MA