NSA reform has been near the top of Congress’ priorities ever since details of the programs were leaked by Edward Snowden in early June. Despite all of Congress agreeing that something needs to be done, they can’t seem to agree on how to reform the intelligence agency. Now one Senator has slammed the “skin deep” reforms proposed by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.
The Hill reports that Sen. Ron Wyden has promised to fight against intelligence committees in Congress that are aiming to introduce what he calls “skin deep” reforms. He is, of course, talking about the NSA reform proposals being spearheaded by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers. Both have gone out of their way to paint the NSA in a positive light after the leaks, and have vowed to make sure any reform to the agency does not impact its ability to indiscriminately collect Americans’ phone records.
Wyden argued further that a bill from Feinstein, Rogers or any other NSA proponent would only further encourage the agency to trample the civil rights of American citizens:
“From a privacy and liberty perspective, this is truly a dangerous proposition. It would spark a new era of digital surveillance in our country and serve as a big rubber stamp of approval for invading the rights of law-abiding Americans.”
Aside from the damage inflicted to our civil liberties, Wyden argued that keeping the NSA as is would have disastrous effect on American tech companies. In fact, a study from August found that American cloud service providers could lose up to $35 million by 2016 if nothing is done about the NSA.
“This is a serious economic issue at a time when we all know our economy certainly is fragile,” Wyden said. “It will put tens of thousands of high-paying American jobs at risk if this trend continues. If a foreign enemy was doing this much damage to our economy, people would be in the streets with pitchforks.”
So, what does Wyden intend to do about it? He’s working with a number of like-minded senators to pass a reform bill that would end the collection of Americans’ phone records, prevent the agency from targeting Americans and create a privacy advocate in the FISA court. He also joined forces with 26 other senators back in June demanding that the NSA reveal more information about its surveillance programs.[Image: Senator Ron Wyden/Facebook]