WASHINGTON – The US Senate failed to pass a short-term reauthorization of Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. today, meaning that a major legal authority on which the U.S. government has relied for surveillance is poised to expire. The Senate also failed to pass the USA Freedom Act today, which had passed the House of Representatives earlier this month. Amnesty International USA reiterated its call for true surveillance reform.
"The Senate’s unwillingness to temporarily reauthorize the Patriot Act is an important signal that the tide has turned against mass surveillance. We are one step closer to forcing a serious conversation about the need for systemic overhaul," said Naureen Shah, Director of Amnesty International USA's Security and Human Rights Program.
“Now there must be further action. In the nearly two years since Edward Snowden revealed the extent of its worldwide surveillance, the US government has avoided any meaningful new limits on the government's collection of our data. We hope today’s vote will spur real change so people can again feel confident in their right to live free from government intrusion into their private lives.
“The Senate will reconvene on May 31, the day before Section 215 of the Patriot Act expires. The US government used section 215 of the USA Patriot Act to conduct surveillance far beyond even our worst fears. As governments around the world consider legislation granting far-reaching surveillance powers, they should take note that similar powers are being successfully challenged in the US."
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning global movement of more than 7 million people in over 190 countries who campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.