Amidst America’s “fiscal cliff” focus, US Senators voted to renew FISA allowing continuation of warrantless wiretaps

// December 28th, 2012 // Hacking and Security


National Counterterrorism Center United States of AmericaUS Senators voted this morning to renew FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), a controversial act that allows warrantless wiretaps.  The current authorization was set to expire on January 1, 2013.  The re-authorization extends the bill through 2013 and for four more years beyond that.  Three amendments were proposed and shot down yesterday allowing the bill to be renewed without any changes.  The current “fiscal cliff” problem may have redirected attention away from the bill.  According to Huffington Post:

“The vote marked a symbolic next step for the wiretapping program, which collects Americans’ communications with foreign intelligence targets abroad. Four years ago, in the midst of the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, an identical version of the bill was the subject of a highly contentious debate in the Senate. Obama and others argued then that Bush’s program went too far in violating Americans’ privacy. This year, with a supportive Obama in the Oval Office and the media focus on the fiscal cliff, the bill was renewed with much less attention.”

The warrantless wiretapping program begun during the George W. Bush administration.

Sources: CNN, Huffington Post, Ars Technica
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