Editorial: the one thing Congress can agree on is violating your privacy | The Verge
This week, as Congressional incompetence threatens to plunge the US into another recession, it’s comforting to know that Democrats and Republicans can still agree on at least one thing: that the US government should have the unquestionable authority to spy on its own citizens — in secret, without a warrant, and absent of any semblance of transparency.
That’s the bipartisan message Congress is sending with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Reauthorization Act of 2012, a bill which passed through the Senate yesterday unscathed by any of the four amendments which sought to strike a balance between civil rights, transparency, and national security. Being as how President Obama has already expressed his support, the bill’s passage all but guarantees the preservation of expansive government spying powers that were set to expire by the end of the year, allowing US intelligence agencies to continue their warrantless wiretapping programs for the next five years.
You’d think that in a world where a good portion of us carry tiny computers that leave trails of sensitive information everywhere we go, it might be reasonable for law-abiding citizens to ask that their private communications and data receive the same rigorous protections as, say, a briefcase left in our home — or that we should at very least have a right to know to what extent our data is being searched. But to each of these requests, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have repeatedly answered “no.”