Erik Jaffe, president of the Project for Privacy and Surveillance Accountability (PPSA) reacted to the decision by the leadership of the House Judiciary Committee to delay long-term reauthorization of Section 215 until early next year.
“Since the passage of the Patriot Act, the federal government has freely accessed Americans’ third-party data held by businesses if an investigating agency decides it is ‘relevant’ to national security. Recent hearings on the Hill confirm that this could include video from doorbell cameras and health records. There is no reason why the government wouldn’t likewise apply this standard to our genetic tests, or our personal videos stored on the cloud, or conversations overhead by virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri.
“We took these concerns to the Hill with our peers in a broad, ideological coalition of civil liberties organizations. The decision by the leadership of the House Judiciary Committee to create a three-month window for further debate is a positive sign that we’ve been heard. We look forward to working with civil libertarians from left to right to make sure the weeks ahead are used to sharply define needed constitutional protections to safeguard Americans’ privacy and our rights under the First and Fourth Amendments.”