It's time to repeal telecom immunity for illegal spying and roll back the worst abuses of the PATRIOT ACT.
When we finally lost our hard fought battle over telecom immunity for illegal spying, civil libertarians in the Senate vowed to revisit the issue during the next Congress. Now is the time. Senators Russ Feingold and Dick Durbin* have now introduced the JUSTICE Act to bring an end to telecom immunity and roll back some of the worst abuses of the PATRIOT ACT.
On December 31, three key provisions of the USA PATRIOT ACT are set to expire, and the House and Senate will hold hearings on reauthorization. Feingold and Durbin are using the PATRIOT ACT reauthorization process to reverse Bush era laws that take away our constitutionally guaranteed rights.
The JUSTICE Act would completely repeal the provision of the FISA Amendments Act intended to legally immunize big telecoms that illegally assisted in the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program. It would restore protections for the privacy of library and bookstore records. And it would also add strong checks and balances to PATRIOT ACT provisions governing FISA orders, wiretaps, and national security letters.
In the days following the attacks of September 11, Congress passed at the behest of the Bush administration a raft of legislation that greatly expanded domestic spying programs but failed to include constitutional safeguards. Finally the champions of constitutional rights in the Senate are taking steps to undo the worst of the damage. Our friends and allies at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Campaign for Reader Privacy (which includes the American Library Association, American Booksellers Association, Association of American Publishers, and PEN American Center) believe the JUSTICE Act is our best chance for reform this year. Please join them and us in supporting this bill.
"It's time to repeal telecom immunity for illegal spying, restore privacy protection to library and bookstore records, and roll back the worst abuses of the PATRIOT ACT. I urge you to co-sponsor and vote for the JUSTICE Act, a bill introduced by Sens. Russ Feingold and Dick Durbin which reinstates much-needed safeguards to our constitutional rights."
* U.S. Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) are co-sponsors of the JUSTICE Act. If you live in Wisconsin, Illinois, Montana, Vermont, New Jersey or Hawaii, your signatures will be delivered to the senator from your state who is not yet a co-sponsor. Want to thank a co-sponsoring senator (especially if you live in New Mexico or Oregon)? Click here.