NSA ’just days from taking over the internet’ warns Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, a former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA), has revealed that the agency is on the verge of significantly increasing its internet surveillance capabilities within the next few days.

On April 16, Snowden brought up a concerning thread on X, which was initially shared by Elizabeth Goitein. Goitein is the co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, and she alerted everyone about a potential new law that could significantly increase the surveillance capabilities of the US government.

NSA ’just days from taking over the internet’ warns Edward Snowden

Section 702 of the FISA act, which is the focus of this legislation, undergoes modification and expansion in the proposed bill.

At present, internet companies like Google and Verizon are required by the NSA to provide access to sensitive information about individuals under investigation by the NSA.

Goitein argues that by subtly altering the term “electronic communications surveillance provider” in the FISA 702 legislation, the US government could expand its reach significantly, compelling almost every business and person offering any type of internet-related service to facilitate NSA monitoring.

A wide variety of American businesses offering wifi to their clients fall under this category, including but not limited to barbershops, laundromats, fitness centers, hardware stores, and dental offices.

Furthermore, those required to disclose data would be silenced from discussing the given information due to severe penalties and restrictions stated in the legislation, mentioned Goitein.

NSA ’just days from taking over the internet’ warns Edward Snowden

At first, the privacy-focused GOP members strongly opposed the bill. However, it eventually got approved in the U.S. House of Representatives on April 13.

Some opponents successfully argued for reducing the length of the spying authorization in the bills from five to two years, along with making a few adjustments to the list of companies subjected to surveillance.

Goitien asserts that the amendment had only a minimal impact on narrowing the NSA’s surveillance powers.

According to Goitein’s perspective, the amendment might compel service providers like cleaners, plumbers, and IT companies that enter people’s homes with access to laptops and routers to hand over information and act as “stand-ins for spies.”

The bill has encountered significant opposition from politicians on all sides, with some officials asserting that the bill infringes upon citizens’ constitutional freedoms.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden expressed deep concern over the bill, labeling it “alarming,” and vowed to use all his influence to block its approval in the Senate.

“This bill represents one of the most dramatic and terrifying expansions of government surveillance authority in history.”

Republican Congresswoman Anna Paulina Luna expressed her opposition to the bill in the House of Representatives by labeling Section 702 as an overly reckless expansion of the NSA’s authorities. She advocated that if government entities desired access to data, they should be obligated to seek a warrant first.

The bill is slated for a vote on April 19 in the U.S. Senate.

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2024-04-16 07:53