01.23.20

Daines Fights to Protect Montanans from Government Spy Programs

Reforms Patriot Act, Ends Illegal Data Collection and Surveillance

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced he will be introducing bipartisan legislation to protect the civil liberties and privacy of Montanans from government spying programs. Daines’ bipartisan bill reforms Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act which the National Security Agency has used to create a secret mass surveillance program that swept up millions of Americans’ phone calls.

“Montanans want their privacy protected. That’s why I’m fighting to protect our civil liberties and stop the federal government from interfering into our lives,” Daines said.

Daines’ bipartisan Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act reforms Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act by:

  • Permanently ending the flawed phone surveillance program, which secretly scooped up Americans’ telephone records for years.
  • Closing loopholes and prohibiting secret interpretation of the law, like those that led to unconstitutional warrantless surveillance programs
  • Prohibiting warrantless collection of geolocation information by intelligence agencies.  

Daines will introduce the bipartisan bill with Senator Wyden (Ore.) and there is companion legislation carried in the U.S. House by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.),Warren Davidson (Ohio) and Pramila Jayapal (Wash).

To read the full bill click, HERE.

Statement of Support:

“This is one of the most American pieces of legislation that the Senate could deliver. First off, it is an important bi-partisan solution that proves our legislators can put the United States first. Second, it provides sunshine and clarifies our nation's domestic surveillance programs. Third, it ensures American's fourth amendment rights are clearly protected. And last, it updates and clarifies extremely outdated technology laws. I applaud both Senator Daines and Senator Wyden for taking their job and their oath to the constitution serious.” Representative Daniel Zolnikov, Chairman, House Energy, Technology and Federal Relations Committee   

"The surveillance capabilities intended to keep us safe from foreign threats have all too often trampled on Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights to due process. The Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act would be an enormous step forward in securing those rights. It would also greatly increase the transparency and oversight needed to ensure that abuses such as the NSA's phone metadata dragnet cannot happen again. FreedomWorks gladly supports this bill." Josh Withrow, Senior Policy Analyst, FreedomWorks.

Background: 

Daines has been a champion for protecting the privacy of Montanans from government intrusion.

Daines more recent actions on protecting privacy this congress include:

On November 14th, 2019, Daines sent a letter requesting answers from Google on what procedures they are putting in place to protect Americans’ private health information.

On May 3rd, 2019, Daines reintroduced a bipartisan bill to require U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to remove personally identifiable information (PII), which includes social security and passport numbers, from public disclosure. 

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