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WASHINGTON — In August, the Trump administration asked Congress to reauthorize the National Security Administration’s authority to gain access to the domestic communications of people across the United States.

The authority, granted under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, allows the NSA to indiscriminately collect metadata from hundreds of millions of phone calls and texts. Without this congressional reauthorization, Section 215 will “sunset,” or expire, on Dec. 15.

On Mon., Sept. 9, the Fourth Amendment Advisory Committee will convene a panel of experts on Capitol Hill to discuss what policymakers need to know before Congress considers reauthorizing Section 215’s surveillance powers.

“The deeply problematic Patriot Act granted sweeping spying powers that no administration should have, and they’re particularly dangerous in the hands of Trump,” said Sandra Fulton, government relations director for Free Press Action. “This administration’s openly hostile policies are harming the most vulnerable communities in America. And over the last two years, we’ve seen leak after leak of documents showing the FBI targeting Black protesters fighting for racial justice. More recently we’ve learned that the Bureau is also spying on folks protesting inhumane immigration policies at the border. Unless we severely limit Section 215’s authority, this disturbing trend will only worsen under Trump.”

Event details:

WHAT: Section 215 of the Patriot Act: the Good, the Bad and the Expiration  
WHEN: Mon., Sept. 9, at 10 a.m.
WHERE: Rayburn 2237 House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
WHO: Panelists include Sandra Fulton, government relations director for Free Press Action; Jumana Musa, director of the Fourth Amendment Center at the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; Marcy Wheeler, senior fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University and primary author of the blog; and Sean Vitka, counsel at Demand Progress

A light breakfast will be served. RSVP here.

The Fourth Amendment Advisory Committee is a coalition of privacy experts dedicated to supporting civil liberties and the work of the Congressional Fourth Amendment Caucus. They advise key decision-makers on issues related to the Fourth Amendment, especially in areas where law and technology intersect.

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