Amnesty Welcomes Positive Steps Against Bulk Surveillance, Calls on Congress to Go Further

Press Release
May 8, 2014

Amnesty Welcomes Positive Steps Against Bulk Surveillance, Calls on Congress to Go Further

Contact: Natalie Butz, nbutz@aiusa.org, 202-675-8761, @AIUSAmedia

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - In response to the House Judiciary Committee’s compromise on surveillance reform in the amended USA Freedom Act, Zeke Johnson, Director of Amnesty International USA’s Security & Human Rights Program, issued the following statement:

“Today, the House Judiciary Committee took an important step forward on surveillance reform, voting to end dragnet collection of Americans’ personal information.

“However, Congress must go further and end bulk collection around the world as well. All people have the right to privacy under international law.

“Although the amended USA Freedom Act appears to ban bulk collection of Americans’ personal information, including under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, it does nothing to end dragnet snooping on the rest of the world under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act or under Executive Order 12333.

“Any use of surveillance, anywhere, must, among other safeguards, be narrow in scope, necessary and proportionate to a legitimate aim, and subject to judicial review. Mass surveillance violates these protections by its very nature. Congress should repeal Section 702 and amend executive order 12333.

“Furthermore, Congress should require greater transparency from the administration about the scope and purpose of US surveillance; in order ensure that necessary safeguards are put in place.”

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.