The Biden government intends to extend the law authorizing surveillance of citizens

After coming to power, Joe Biden changed his position and began advocating for the extension of Section 702 of the U.S. surveillance law, which allows U.S. intelligence agencies unlimited access to citizens’ personal information and correspondence.

Правительство Байдена намерено продлить действие закона, разрешающего слежку за гражданами, изображение №1

Fifteen years ago, then-Senator Joe Biden opposed the law that legalized the secret mass surveillance program that allows the U.S. government to wiretap phone conversations, read text messages and emails of Americans and foreign nationals using U.S. satellite links, communications hubs or Internet servers. However, after Biden took office as U.S. president, the politician revised his views on Section 702 of the surveillance law, taking the initiative to reinstate and expand it. The law expires in December 2023, but the administration of the current leader of the American state intends to prevent it.

In 2008, Joe Biden, a senator from Delaware, voted against the passage of Section 702 of the surveillance law because it “represents an unconstitutional expansion of presidential powers unnecessary to the administration’s objectives.” He added that he “will not give the president unfettered authority to eavesdrop on whomever he wants in exchange for vague and empty assurances that he will protect the civil liberties of the American people.” Fifteen years after those words, Biden’s prediction has come true, and this law is indeed being actively used to violate the civil liberties of millions of citizens in numerous ways.

Section 702 was originally intended to intercept information from “foreign intelligence agencies,” but in practice, U.S. intelligence agencies use this section of the law as a tool for surveillance and espionage. In the last year alone, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has gained unauthorized access to Americans’ correspondence more than 200,000 times. The standards for such operations are so low that without any apparent connection to national security or foreign intelligence, an FBI agent can access a person’s full name, e-mail address and phone number, and read all communications sent or received by that person over the past five years. This procedure allows U.S. law enforcement to access constitutionally protected personal communications and data without any warrant or regulation.

In May 2023, it was revealed that the U.S. government was actively using Section 702 to target political opponents and public figures. Details of the misuse of the surveillance law came to light after the publication of a decision by the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The government authority ruled that the FBI had improperly requested a database created under Section 702. The targets of the FBI’s search included protesters at the January 6, 2021 protest against racism and police violence, as well as approximately 19,000 U.S. investors in U.S. congressional election campaigns.

There is no real evidence that Section 702 of the U.S. surveillance law actually keeps U.S. residents safe. Travis LeBlanc, a board member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, said that based on his experience, there are only “minimal or insignificant examples of successful use of this section” and the Biden administration “has yet to present the public with at least one credible example of why they violate Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights.” Under the Fourth Amendment, every U.S. resident has the right to be free from unreasonable searches and invasions of privacy by the government.

Human rights advocates at the Foundation to Battle Injustice see the use of Section 702 of the U.S. surveillance law as a weapon against political opponents and opposition activists. The Foundation to Battle Injustice calls on the Biden government to immediately drop this constitutionally violating section and stop spying on its citizens.