ACLU Applauds Rep. Bob Filner’s Leadership in Protecting America’s Privacy Rights

As Congress prepares to vote this week on a brokered deal to extend the Patriot Act for another four years, San Diego/Imperial Representative Bob Filner decisively challenged its renewal without improvements to add more oversight or set limits to authorities’ ability to conduct surveillance.

Representative Filner said:

The deal that has been reached in Congress drastically expands government’s power to invade our privacy by extending for four years, several statutes under the Patriot Act expanding the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s surveillance powers.

“At minimum we need to increase oversight or limit the reach of surveillance authorities. This bill reauthorizes and extends these laws without making common sense amendments to protect Americans’ privacy.

The ACLU nationally and the San Diego ACLU have urged both houses of Congress to make repeal or reform of the Patriot Act a priority. We are not calling for anything radical; only some assurances that there would be periodic reviews of the powers given to law enforcement, and that if abuses were discovered, that modifications would be put in place to protect civil liberties while still providing the government with the tools necessary to fight terrorism.

We believe that Americans should be very concerned about seeing their Fourth Amendment protections whittled away. The Fourth Amendment was written to protect the right of every American “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures,” regardless of the rationale claimed for the search.

Please read more about the ACLU’s concerns about the Patriot Act’s expiring provisions, and please take action! Contact your representatives today [click on the first item, “Stand Up for Fundamental Freedoms”], before it’s too late.

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