By Kassandra Garcia |Staff Writer|
On Thursday, May 7, the federal appeals court finally ruled that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance program was illegal.
The new reform, known as the USA Freedom Act, is a surveillance reform bill that recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In my opinion, this is a sad excuse of a reform.
The bill itself is intended to set restrictions on the NSA which is supposed to end the bulk collection of data on U.S. citizens.
According to Wired, the Patriot Act allowed the NSA to collect as much of your personal data, and the data of anyone you’ve been in touch with, as they wanted.
Under the now infamous Section 215 of the Patriot Act, authorities were able to request and gain access to anything they considered “relevant” for a possible investigation.
“Relevant” in this case means anything the NSA wants it to mean. They were able to access individuals’ phone records, internet searches, e-mails and social media accounts.
The USA Freedom Act doesn’t actually suspend the phone records program. Rather, it requires that phone company’s hold onto the records as opposed to the NSA according to Shane Harris of the Daily Beast.
In my opinion, the NSA repeatedly overstepped its legal authority before.
I believe the reform act still operates in an unconstitutional manner because the USA Freedom Act isn’t any different than before the Patriot Act.
This reform still allows individuals’ personal information to be under surveillance.
This type of data holding creates a needle-in-a-haystack effect and makes it difficult to find relevant and useful information.
“The crazy thing is that we automatically assume that the act has been improved when really it’s just the exact same thing,” said student Olivia Grant.
“Unfortunately, this sort of Orwellian surveillance, conducted under provisions of the Patriot Act, invades the privacy of millions of law-abiding Americans,” stated Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
To make matters worse, people like New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie, believe that the Patriot Act should actually be extended.
Many would argue that we are no longer in that same state, so why is this form of data surveillance still viewed as necessary?
Yes, there is always the possibility of going back to that state but what we need is a substantive, thoughtful evaluation of whether or not these “warranted” programs have even made a legitimate case in the last 13 years that they have existed.
From the extent of what we have looked at, there is no justification of these programs.
According to Daniel Schuman, policy director of Demand Progress, every time the administration has looked over the results it has showed that we are not in fact “safer” with these surveillance acts than we were before they were established.
These programs have not done what they were supposed to do and the reform is just as intrusive as it previously was.
If they focused on targeting specific information as opposed to where and who gets to obtain personal information then the reform would have been a step in the right direction.
I believe the reform is a joke and should be sent back to congress for a proper revision, if anything.
“Congress should let them (three branches in Patriot Act) expire,” said Schuman.
In my opinion, the NSA repeatedly overstepped its legal authority before, what will make it any different this time?