In a story that went virtually unreported by the mainstream media, Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) introduced a bill in the House that would devastate the NSA's current data-mining programs and warrantless wiretapping of American citizens.
The bill, proposed on July 24 and coined The Surveillance State Repeal Act, momentarily provided the American constituency with a glimmer of hope for humanity, until it was inevitably sent to a committee which will, much like a CIA blacksite, make sure it never sees the light of day again.
A Gov Track Analysis gives the bill an optimistic 0% chance of getting past committee, let alone passing.
The bill offers our government its second opportunity in recent months to restore any faith in the functionality of Congress, as it comes just weeks after the political establishment narrowly beat Justin Amash's defense appropriations amendment that would have defunded the NSA if it continued to spy on the American people.
So before this daydream dissolves completely, let's take a look at the bill that could have been. The Surveillance State Repeal Act would have:
1. Repealed the Patriot Act
2. Repealed the FISA Amendments of 2008
3. Required that no information be collected in the spirit of the FISA amendment without a warrant
4. Prohibited the U.S. government from requiring tech manufacturers and developers to install "back doors" that allow the government to bypass encryption or privacy settings
5. Required annual GAO reviews
6. Created outlets for reporting abuse, fraud, or waste by both government employees and employees of government contractors.
Pretty exciting, right? But try googling "Surveillance State Repeal Act" with added keywords such as "CNN", "FOX", "MSNBC," or "New York Times". Let me know if you get any hits. I didn't. You'll realize why that 0% chance for success is so accurate.
So as this Orwellian train wreck charges forward, picking up speed despite our every objection, I turn to people like Rep. Rush Holt and Edward Snowden, with a blend of admiration and fatalism, to say:
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