Legislation announced Wednesday would limit U.S. law enforcement access to data collected by the National Security Agency on American citizens.
The bill, expected to be introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers this week, aims to reform Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act prior to its Dec. 31 expiration.
While the controversial section allows U.S. intelligence agencies to monitor and store data on foreign suspects abroad, Americans’ communications are routinely captured in the process, allowing law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation to access the data without a warrant.
A discussion draft of the legislation, according to Reuters, would force the FBI to obtain a warrant before being granted access to certain data related to criminal activity. Data related to counterterrorism or counter-espionage, however, would be exempt from the proposed restrictions.
Republican Senator John Cornyn and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, both supporters of 702, are expected to introduce similar legislation this week with fewer reforms. Republican Senator Rand Paul and Democratic Senator Ron Wyden also intend to present a bill that would require a warrant for any 702 searches involving Americans.
Republican senators earlier this year introduced legislation to make Section 702 in its current form permanent. Both the White House and U.S. intelligence agencies backed the proposal at the time.
Revelations concerning 702 and the collection of Americans’s data were first revealed in 2013 by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
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