End Government Surveillance

The House of Representatives just voted 175-253 to reject a bipartisan amendment that would have ended the unwarranted federal mass surveillance of our texts, phone calls, and browsing history that Edward Snowden exposed. See how your representative voted here, then use our call tool below to contact your member of Congress to let them know how you feel about their vote.

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What’s Happening

UPDATE: The House of Representatives rejected this amendment via a 175-253 vote.

UPDATE II: The House Rules Committee did not advance any of the amendments seeking to limit dangerous government use of facial recognition technology.

Representatives Justin Amash (R-MI 03) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA 19) have submitted an amendment (Amendment #24) to the government spending bill that would prohibit the unconstitutional and warrantless surveillance of Americans as authorized by Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.

Although Section 702 is intended to empower U.S. government agencies to surveil non-U.S. citizens outside the U.S., we know, thanks to whistleblowers and advocates, that the government has routinely pointed these powers at U.S. citizens. Government agencies like the NSA and FBI use Section 702 to justify the warrantless domestic surveillance of Americans, something also known as the “backdoor search” loophole. Through this loophole, the NSA, FBI, and CIA can monitor, collect, and illegally search through the data of Americans without a warrant. Amendment #24 would considerably close this loophole.

Additionally, several representatives have introduced amendments that would substantially limit dangerous government use of facial recognition technology, an unprecedented new surveillance tool that’s already made its way into the hands of law enforcement despite how widely documented the technology's inaccuracy remains, especially for people of color, women, and youth. If passed, these amendments would prohibit facial recognition technology from being deployed on police body cameras and in public and assisted housing programs. We’re on standby waiting to see whether the House Rules committee will clear these amendments for a floor vote or not.

With nearly 100 new members in the House of Representatives, this is the moment that we’ve been waiting for to finally, finally rein in dangerous government surveillance powers. The votes will happen soon.

The Amash-Lofgren Amendment

We have just days to persuade the House of Representatives to pass the 15-line Amash-Lofgren amendment (amendment #24). You can read the no-bullshit amendment here. This amendment, if passed, would significantly limit unconstitutional government spying powers by prohibiting:

  • The intentional targeting of people outside the United States when a significant purpose of that targeting is to acquire communications of a particular person in the United States (often referred to as “reverse targeting”);
  • The acquisition of communications to which no participant is a target (often referred to as “about collection”). The government halted this collection in 2017, but asserts it has the authority to restart this collection; and
  • The acquisition of communications known to be entirely domestic. The government unlawfully collects tens of thousands of wholly domestic communications under Section702.

Source: 42 organizations sign letter urging lawmakers to support Amendment 24 to the Approps minibus.

Amendments Banning Facial Recognition

Several amendments prohibiting dangerous government use of facial recognition technology (FRT) have also been introduced. You can read them here: Amendment #65 (prohibits FRT use in public and assisted housing), Amendment #78 (limits FRT use by law enforcement), Amendment #91, Amendment #92, Amendment #95 (limits FRT use by law enforcement), and Amendment #104 (limits FRT use by law enforcement). Whether these amendments make it to a floor vote depends on the House Rules Committee. Take action and tell them to do the right thing: