N s a surveillance program
Disclosures by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden have revealed that the NSA is conducting a massive data gathering operation that targets every American. Named PRISM, this operation is a secret spy program that monitors and records all Internet activity, including website visits, online purchases and email exchanges. Revelations have also shown that our largest technology companies were paid millions of dollars for the access needed to monitor many millions of Americans accused of no wrong doing. Before this disclosure, companies such as Apple, Facebook, Yahoo and Google denied knowledge or complicity of this program. They claimed they were as stunned as everyone else when it was discovered that massive surveillance programs had been operating within their facilities since 2007. However, an NSA lawyer has since testified that these firms knew about PRISM the whole time, saying “They would have received legal process in order to assist the government.”

News agencies have reported that 9 out of 10 people identified in a large cache of online conversations intercepted by the NSA were ordinary Internet users and not foreign surveillance targets. NSA supporters claim some of these intercepts did include “discoveries of considerable intelligence value.” These included “fresh revelations about a secret overseas nuclear project, double-dealing by an ostensible ally, a military calamity that befell an unfriendly power, and the identities of aggressive intruders into US computer networks.” NSA critics say the more time passes, the more revelations of illegal NSA activity surface, many of which have been brought to light by Mr. Snowden. Leaked NSA documents have exposed a covert program called XKeyscore, an easily-searchable database for NSA analysts to scan data intercepted from innocent citizens. This data included "pictures, documents, voice calls, webcam photos, web searches, advertising analytics traffic, social media traffic, botnet traffic, logged keystrokes, computer network exploitation targeting, intercepted username and password pairs, file uploads to online services, Skype sessions and more.”

Privacy advocates say our government should not compile personal information about Americans not suspected of counterintelligence, terrorist or other illegal activity. They say the NSA should be required to adhere to clear civil liberties and privacy standards when accessing, collecting and storing personal information on its citizens.

Pending Legislation:
H.R.699 - Email Privacy Act

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Poll Opening Date
May 21, 2020
Poll Closing Date
May 27, 2020

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