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Sandra coordinates Free Press Action Fund’s legislative outreach and lobbying efforts. Before joining Free Press, she served as a legislative assistant in the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington office, where she focused on First Amendment and privacy issues, including Net Neutrality, minority media ownership, government-spying programs, and updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Prior to that, she served as a research associate for a 2008 congressional campaign in Maryland and worked in Discovery Communications’ government-relations group. Sandra earned a degree in political science from the University of Maryland.

Expert Analysis

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  • WASHINGTON — On Thursday, Sens. Ron Wyden and Rand Paul and Reps. Justin Amash and Zoe Lofgren introduced the Ending Mass Collection of Americans’ Phone Records Act, which would end the NSA Call-Details Records (CDR) program that collects millions of domestic phone-call and text-message records. The bill’s introduction comes amid news that the agency allowed operations under the program to lapse at least six months ago.

    The program, which NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed in 2013, initially required that phone companies surrender records in bulk to the agency. Call-detail records include various attributes of any telecommunications connection, such as time, duration, completion status, source number and destination number. The USA Freedom Act, passed in 2015, narrowed the program’s scope but still permits government collection without standard warrants of information about the targets of investigations, their associates and their activities.

    Free Press Action Government Relations Director Sandra Fulton made the following statement:

    “Free Press Action thanks Senator Wyden, Senator Paul, Representative Amash and Representative Lofgren for introducing this important bill to officially end the Call-Detail Records provision embedded in Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Even after passage of the USA Freedom Act in 2015, supposedly to narrow this dangerously overbroad program, the NSA continued to collect metadata from hundreds of millions of phone calls made by people in the United States.

    “This program represents an egregious violation of our rights. Even if the NSA has reportedly stopped using this dragnet approach, we need the certainty that this bill provides against it restarting on the basis of Section 215 or some other government theory.

    “Ending this program should be just a first step in legislative efforts to protect our civil liberties. As we move toward the sunset of Section 215 at the end of this year, lawmakers who care about curbing mass surveillance must demand even more robust reforms to protect our privacy. These spying powers are particularly concerning in the hands of an administration that has so aggressively targeted protesters and communities of color.

    “Congress should oppose any efforts to renew the CDR program and the mass-surveillance practices it embodied should not be permitted under Section 215 or any other authority.”