Edward Snowden Warns NSA ‘Days Away From Taking Over Internet’ – Media Blackout


The National Security Agency (NSA) is just days away from quietly “taking over the internet” with a massive expansion of its surveillance powers, according to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Snowden drew attention to a thread on X originally posted by Elizabeth Goitein — the co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice — that warned of a dystopian new bill that could see the U.S. government surveillance powers beefed up to new disturbing new levels.

CoinTelegraph report: The bill in question reforms and extends a part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) known as Section 702.

Currently, the NSA can force internet service providers such as Google and Verizon to hand over sensitive data concerning NSA targets.

However, Goitein claims that through an “innocuous change” to the definition of “electronic communications surveillance provider” in the FISA 702 bill, the U.S. government could go far beyond its current scope and force nearly every company and individual that provides any internet-related service to assist with NSA surveillance.

“That sweeps in an enormous range of U.S. businesses that provide wifi to their customers and therefore have access to equipment on which communications transit. Barber shops, laundromats, fitness centers, hardware stores, dentist’s offices.”

Additionally, the people forced to hand over data would be unable to discuss the information provided due to hefty gag order penalties and conditions outlined in the bill, added Goitein.

The bill initially received heavy pushback from privacy-conscious Republicans but passed through the U.S. House of Representatives on April 13.

Part of the pushback saw the bills’ proposed spying powers time-frame cut from five years to two years, as well as some minor amendments to the service providers included under the surveillance measures.

However, according to Goitein, the amendment did very little to reduce the scope of surveillance granted to the NSA.

In her view, the amendment could even see service providers such as cleaners, plumbers and IT service providers that have access to laptops and routers inside people’s homes be forced to provide information and serve as “surrogate spies,” claimed Goitein.

The bill has seen strong pushback from both sides of the political aisle, with several government representatives claiming the bill violates citizen’s constitutional rights.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden described the bill as “terrifying” and said he would do everything in his power to prevent it from being passed through the Senate.

“This bill represents one of the most dramatic and terrifying expansions of government surveillance authority in history.”

Republican Congressperson Anna Paulina Luna, who voted against the bill in the House of Representatives, said Section 702 was an “irresponsible extension” of the NSA’s powers. Luna added that if government agencies wanted access to data, they must be forced to apply for a warrant.

The bill is slated for a vote on April 19 in the U.S. Senate.

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