“There would be eyes everywhere,” is how the Brennan Center’s Elizabeth Goitein reacted to a provision in the FISA Reform and Reauthorization Act (FRRA), a House Intelligence bill that would widen the trawl of digital collection of Americans’ information.
Section 504 of the FRRA would target businesses far outside of the tech sector that are not communications companies. By widening the definition of an “electronic communication service provider,” FRRA’s Section 504 could enlist coffee shops, libraries, hotels, and Airbnbs into snooping on Americans.
“Any entity that you visit as a customer, that provides Wi-Fi service, could be required to let the government tap into its equipment, and pull out the entire stream of communications,” Goitein told Vice’s Motherboard.
Many have characterized this provision as a Trojan Horse. This provision would likely result in improper collection of Americans’ domestic communications, leading to the government compelling “Upstream” access to data networks from businesses with no experience in managing the legal intricacies of communications management, or ability to filter out select communications.
“This is a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” the Brennan Center said in a joint statement with the Electronic Frontier Foundation about this purported “reform” legislation.