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Rep. Sara Jacobs Co-Leads Introduction of Bipartisan Legislation to Reauthorize and Reform Key Surveillance Law, Secure Protections for Americans’ Rights

Rep. Sara Jacobs (CA-51) joined Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mike Lee (R-UT), and Reps. Warren Davidson (R-OH) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) in introducing the bipartisan and bicameral Government Surveillance Reform Act, which would reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act with important new protections for Americans’ constitutional rights. 


The bill reauthorizes Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) for 4 years, allowing intelligence agencies to continue to use the authorities granted by that law, but with key new protections against documented abuses and new accountability measures when abuses occur. It also includes a host of reforms to government surveillance authorities beyond Section 702, including requiring warrants for government purchases of private data from data brokers.


Although surveillance proponents claimed that the previous 702 reauthorization included sufficient safeguards to prevent abuse, intelligence agencies have documented extensive new violations in recent years. Abuses include warrantless searches for a U.S. Senator, a member of Congress, and a state court judge, among others. 


“For decades, our intelligence agencies have offered us a false choice: either keep our country safe or protect Americans’ constitutional right to privacy. But we can and must do both,” said Rep. Sara Jacobs. “Yet, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has enabled the warrantless collection of Americans’ activities – from phone calls and website searches to emails and location data – with too little oversight and accountability. That’s why I’m so proud to co-lead the bipartisan and bicameral Government Surveillance Reform Act, which gives our intelligence agencies the necessary tools to combat terrorism, safeguards Americans’ rights, and ensures robust oversight. This is the framework we need to protect our country and uphold our values.”


The bill’s reforms include: 

  • Protecting Americans from warrantless backdoor searches, ensuring that foreigners aren’t targeted as a pretext for spying on the Americans with whom they are communicating, and prohibiting the collection of domestic communications.
  • Extending similar reforms to surveillance activities under Executive Order 12333, including by limiting warrantless searches of Americans’ communications and prohibiting the targeting of foreigners as a pretext for surveilling Americans. It also limits the acquisition of Americans’ information as part of large datasets.
  • Requiring warrants for surveillance of Americans’ location data, web browsing and search records, including AI assistants like Alexa and Siri, vehicle data and by prohibiting the government from purchasing Americans’ data from data brokers.
  • Exceptions to ensure the government can continue to use Section 702 for defensive cybersecurity purposes, to assist in locating and rescuing hostages overseas and emergency provisions in cases where there isn’t sufficient time to get a warrant in advance. 


The bill has been endorsed by dozens of civil society organizations: Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), AAPI Equity Alliance, AAPI Victory Alliance, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Americans for Prosperity, API Equality-LA, Asian American Federal Employees for Nondiscrimination (AAFEN), Asian Texans for Justice, Aurora Commons LLC, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Center for Democracy & Technology, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Demand Progress, Due Process Institute, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Empowering Marginalized Asian Communities, Fight for the Future, FreedomWorks, Free Press Action, Libertas Institute, Media Alliance, Muslim Advocates, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), Oakland Privacy, OCA, OCA Greater Cleveland - Asian Pacific American Advocates, OCA Silicon Valley, Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability (PPSA), Project on Government Oversight (POGO), Restore the Fourth, Secure Justice, Stop AAPI Hate, Surveillance Technology Oversight Project and X-Lab.


A one-page summary of the bill is here. A section-by-section summary of the bill is here. Read the full bill here.