WASHINGTON: A bipartisan group of US lawmakers has introduced new legislation aimed at curbing the FBI’s sweeping surveillance powers, saying the bill helps close loopholes that allow officials to seize Americans’ data without a warrant.
The bill follows more than a decade of debate over the post-Sept. 11, 2001, surveillance powers that allow domestic law enforcement to scan without warrant the vast mountains of data collected by America’s foreign surveillance apparatus.
Reforms in the proposed legislation include limits on warrant-less searches of Americans’ communications and a ban on so-called “behind the scenes” searches, which refer to foreign intelligence agencies’ justifications for spying on Americans.
“We are introducing a bill that protects the security and freedom of the American people,” Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat and longtime critic of government surveillance, said at a news conference Tuesday.
The White House and the FBI did not immediately return messages seeking comment, although executive branch officials have long insisted that the surveillance authority — which expires at the end of the year — is a key tool to fight foreign espionage and terrorism, and have lobbied for it. reauthorization.
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