20 years later, it's time to move on from mass surveillance | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

20 years later, it's time to move on from mass surveillance

In the weeks after 9/11, Congress rushed to pass the Patriot Act with little debate. It quickly became a global symbol of excessive executive power. The law gave the government authority to spy on Americans’ communications, track their associations, and monitor their financial transactions. It made it far easier for the government to issue “National Security Letters,” requiring companies to turn over phone records and account information without court approval. It expanded the FBI’s ability to use surveillance tools designed for tracking foreign spies, and allowed the FBI to conduct “sneak-and-peek” searches of homes, offices and other property.

Today, 20 years after President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act into law, many of its provisions remain on the books and the surveillance state continues to expand. It’s past time for that to change.

Congress has the opportunity to enact essential reforms to protect us in the face of powerful and invasive technologies going forward. America’s leaders must put an end to mass spying — by ensuring that surveillance is targeted, that there is robust judicial oversight, and that people whose lives the government invades can have their day in court.