Lofgren and Davidson Urge Consideration of Internet Privacy Amendment

May 20, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Warren Davidson (R-OH) sent a letter to the House Rules Committee urging the body to consider the Lofgren-Davidson Amendment when writing the rule for reauthorizing the USA FREEDOM Act.

The Lofgren-Davidson Amendment mirrors the Wyden-Daines Amendment, which would protect Americans’ web browsing and internet search history from warrantless surveillance. The Wyden-Daines Amendment nearly passed the Senate, falling one vote short with a final roll call vote of 59-41. However, four senators were not able to be present for the vote, including two likely “yes” votes.

Reps. Lofgren and Davidson urged the committee to consider this crucial amendment, in light of Fourth Amendment prohibitions on warrantless surveillance and especially since the Senate has signaled its support for Americans’ right to privacy.

Full text of the letter can be found below.

Dear Chairman McGovern and Ranking Member Cole,

We are writing to request that when the Rules Committee issues its rule for the Senate amendment to H.R. 6172, the USA Freedom Reauthorization Act of 2020, that the rule allow for consideration of the Lofgren-Davidson amendment. This amendment mirrors the language of the amendment recently offered by Senators Wyden and Daines in the Senate. 

The Lofgren-Davidson amendment would prohibit the collection of Americans’ internet search history and web browsing data without a warrant. Its Senate companion (Wyden-Daines) had strong, bipartisan support with 59 Senators (35 Democrats and 24 Republicans) voting to pass the amendment.

While the amendment had the support of a large bipartisan majority of the Senate, it failed to pass the 60 vote threshold required by Senate rules. However, even this substantial vote is not a full indication of the level of support of this amendment. There are at least two Senators that indicated they would have voted in favor of Wyden-Daines, had they been able to be physically present to do so.

More than just having strong bipartisan support, the Lofgren-Davidson amendment is the right policy decision for protecting the privacy of Americans. Our internet activity opens a window into the most sensitive areas of our private life. Without this prohibition, intelligence officials would potentially have access to information such as our personal health, religious practices, and political views.

Adoption of this amendment would secure a meaningful and bipartisan reform to existing powerful surveillance programs, so we ask that the committee give the House the same opportunity to vote on this reform as the Senate had.

Sincerely,

Zoe Lofgren
Member of Congress

Warren Davidson
Member of Congress

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