The Massie-Lofgren Amendment has two components.
- The first prohibits warrantless searches of U.S. persons’ online communications and data. Currently, under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, Americans' private data and communications – including emails, photos, and text messages – are incidentally collected by intelligence agencies. This allows access to a vast swath of communications and data without a warrant. Intelligence officials have confirmed to Congress that law enforcement agencies actively search the content of this intercepted data without probable cause, and have used evidence gathered to assist in criminal prosecutions.
- The second component prohibits government agencies from pressuring companies to build encryption “backdoors” in products or services for surveillance purposes. Industry leaders, technologists, and cryptologists agree these encryption backdoors put the data security of any individual using these services at risk.
Identical amendments passed the full House of Representatives in 2014 and 2015 by overwhelming margins.
Fact sheet - What the Massie-Lofgren Amendment does and does not do.
Coalition Letter of Support
TechDirt - House Intel Boss, Rep. Devin Nunes, Lying To Congress About Attempt To Stop Encryption Backdoors
"There are some in Congress who apparently have no problem deceiving both their colleagues and the American public in the pursuit of making Americans less safe and putting our country, economy and infrastructure at risk. This time, it's House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Devin Nunes, along with Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, who chairs the NSA subcommittee. They've been sending around a letter that blatantly misrepresents a proposal designed to better protect Americans' privacy and security."
The Intercept - Congressman Cites Orlando Tragedy as Reason to Fight Surveillance Reform
"The head of the House Intelligence Committee is hand-delivering a letter to colleagues on the Hill, demanding they not restrict the FBI’s surveillance power — and citing the recent mass shooting in Orlando as justification. The letter opposes a proposed amendment that would put an end to FBI “backdoor” searches of an NSA database of foreign intelligence without judicial oversight."
The Hill - House Eyes New Chance to Reform Surveillance
"The House is gearing up to take a new stab at reforming U.S. surveillance powers, after overwhelmingly passing similar measures in the past but failing to get them signed into law. The moves, introduced as an amendment to the annual Defense appropriations bill, are expected to be considered on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning, and could reinforce the sense of many lawmakers on Capitol Hill that federal surveillance reform remains unfinished."
Morning Consult - Privacy Advocates Aim to Use Defense Spending Bill to Protect Encryption
"A bipartisan effort is underway in the House to use the Defense appropriations bill to protect the use of encryption in electronic devices.Eighteen House lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, are backing an amendment to the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2017 spending measure that would prohibit any agent of the National Security Agency or Central Intelligence Agency from requiring or requesting a company or person to “alter its product or service” to assist the federal government’s intelligence operations."
Bloomberg - House to Vote on Curbing NSA Surveillance in Wake of Orlando
"An internal Republican fight is emerging over an anti-surveillance amendment passed by the House each of the past two years, but which foes say must be defeated this year in light of the Orlando shootings. The measure, sponsored by Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky, would effectively prohibit the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies from searching data collected incidentally on American citizens during surveillance of non-U.S. citizens outside of the country."