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President Biden Signs Bill Expanding Surveillance Powers, Sparking Privacy Concerns

President Joe Biden has recently signed a significant bill into law, intensifying concerns among critics regarding its implications for American privacy.

This bill reauthorizes and extends Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), allowing for expanded surveillance capabilities for U.S. government agencies.

The U.S. Senate approved the legislation on April 20 with a 60–34 vote, and the law was enacted the following day.

Supporters, including both President Biden and bipartisan members of Congress, argue that this legislation is crucial for counter-terrorism and national security.

“Allowing FISA to expire would have been dangerous.

“It’s an important part of our national security toolkit and helps law enforcement stop terrorist attacks, drug trafficking, and violent extremism,” emphasized Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Conversely, opponents believe that the amendments to FISA mark a significant escalation in government surveillance powers, potentially affecting everyone from businesses to individual citizens.

Elizabeth Goitein, from the Brennan Center for Justice, expressed her disdain on X, stating that the bill “effectively grants the NSA access to the communications equipment of almost any U.S. business, plus huge numbers of organizations and individuals.

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It’s a gift to any president who may wish to spy on political enemies, journalists, ideological opponents.” She added, “This is a shameful moment in the history of the United States Congress.”

Under the newly signed law, agencies like the NSA are now authorized to demand data from internet service providers such as Google and Verizon.

This expansion means that a wider range of companies and individuals providing internet services will be compelled to cooperate with government surveillance efforts.

Despite opposition from both privacy-focused Republicans and Democrats, the bill passed through the House of Representatives on April 13. Efforts to amend the bill to require warrants for all internet-based surveillance were narrowly defeated.

The reauthorization of FISA Section 702 has drawn sharp criticism from figures like NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who remarked that America had “lost something important” and called the legislation unconstitutional.

“Senator Ron Wyden also voiced severe concerns, describing it as one of the most “dramatic and terrifying expansions of government surveillance authority in history.”

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