Section 702 -- that big, scary, secret law that lets the NSA listen in and read our phone calls, emails and text messages -- has two major programs, PRISM and Upstream.
PRISM allows the NSA to collect, without a warrant, user communications from companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook, while Upstream allows it to scan all information traveling through internet backbone cables in real time. And both of these programs will expire at the end of the year unless Congress reauthorizes Section 702.
Since 2008, when Section 702 passed into law, federal courts have found that the NSA has repeatedly intercepted American citizens’ phone calls, emails, and text messages -- all of it under the guise of “looking for terrorist communications,” and all of it without a warrant. Even more troubling is that the NSA knowingly searches through its massive databases of information collected under Section 702 for American information -- the kind protected by the Fourth Amendment.
PRISM and Upstream are gross intrusions into our lives, and they violate our civil liberties. All Congress has to do to stop this is nothing. And unless it is fundamentally reformed, they should do just that.