Secret FISA Provision Transforms All U.S. Companies Into NSA Spies!

Written by Christopher Matthews.

The latest FISA reauthorization bill, quietly passed by the House, incorporates provisions that fundamentally reshape the landscape of U.S. business operations. Now, every U.S. company that handles communications in any capacity is required to surrender surveillance data to the National Security Agency (NSA), or its officers risk imprisonment. This mandate, nestled within the Section 702 provisions, marks a significant expansion of the NSA’s reach into private businesses.

Senator Ron Wyden, a long-standing critic of invasive surveillance, has voiced his apprehension. Elizabeth Goitein of the Brennan Center for Justice articulates the stakes clearly: “The reauthorization bill passed by the House represents the most extensive expansion of domestic surveillance since the Patriot Act,” (Goitein, X Monday).

Sweeping Surveillance Expansion

The amendment to the bill, proposed by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, extends the NSA’s reach far beyond traditional telecommunications companies. Now, any service provider with infrastructure capable of transmitting or storing data—be it routers, servers, or cellular towers—must comply. This broad definition implicates a vast array of businesses, from coffee shops offering WiFi to commercial landlords and even local barbershops.

“The redefined scope of entities required to assist the NSA encompasses almost every facet of American commercial life, drawing in countless businesses under its surveillance umbrella,” Goitein notes. This sweeping requirement includes even those who provide services within private homes, such as plumbers and IT technicians, all of whom are placed under a strict gag order and face severe penalties for non-compliance.

The Danger of Overreach

The potential for abuse under these expanded powers is substantial, a concern echoed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Despite assurances from legislative leaders that these powers will not be misused, history tells a different story. The expansion of these surveillance capabilities into the daily operations of ordinary American businesses raises significant alarms about privacy and the potential for governmental overreach.

“It is a fundamental overstep for any government to coerce private businesses and individuals into serving as extensions of state surveillance apparatus,” Goitein warns. This could lead to a chilling effect on freedoms and a misallocation of resources that should be directed towards genuine national security threats rather than domestic spying.

Our Take

The recent expansion of the FISA bill is a troubling development that should concern every American who values privacy and the principles of a free market economy. The encroachment of government surveillance into the daily operations of businesses not only infringes on individual liberties but also places an undue burden on businesses across the nation. It is imperative that the Senate reconsider these provisions and protect American businesses and citizens from unwarranted and invasive governmental intrusion. If the provisions cannot be satisfactorily adjusted, the bill should be opposed outright to safeguard American freedoms.

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