USA FREEDOM makes meaningful reforms, but fails to end bulk collection

May 13, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) issued the below statement today following passage of the USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 2048) in the House, and called on additional reforms to end warrantless bulk collection of U.S. persons' data and communications:

"The USA FREEDOM Act makes meaningful reforms to a few of our nation's surveillance programs. I applaud the bill's authors who worked to make sure these improvements were included.

"But this bill does not end all of the warrantless bulk collection of US persons' communications and data. While the legislation does not create these privacy violations, it fails to address widely reported privacy violations that occur under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act and Executive Order 12333.

"The House voted last year to close these backdoor forms of warrantless bulk surveillance by an overwhelming margin of 293-123. Reformers were blocked by Leadership and the Rules Committee from considering those much needed improvements to this bill today.

"Continuing these backdoor surveillance programs is wrong, detrimental to our economy, our competitiveness abroad, and the public's trust. It's time to end these serious privacy violations so that our government adheres to the constitution and protects electronic privacy.

"This bill is an improvement over the status quo. During Committee consideration the Judiciary Chairman and others assured reformers that once this bill passed we will quickly address backdoor surveillance loopholes under Section 702 and Executive Order 12333. If these commitments are not kept, reformers will reconsider their support for this legislation when it returns to the House from the Senate."

Lofgren's full floor statement during debate can be viewed here.