Earlier this week, Freedom took it on the chin as the U.S. House passed HR 2048, named the USA Freedom Act. U.S. Congressman Greg Walden voted for the bill. You probably did not hear him say anything about it, because Mr. Walden hopes you never learn how he voted — or that such a vote took place. If he were proud of his vote, rest assured, we would all know about it.
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the bulk telephone metadata program run by the National Security Agency (NSA) is not authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act and is thus unlawful. The ruling is a big win for privacy and civil liberties advocates who have long argued that Section 215 clearly does not contemplate the type of mass collection we now know is occurring.
However that did not deter Congress and so they quickly wrote H.R 2048 which will undo much of the progress resulting from the Second Circuit’s opinion. The bill's sponsors, and unfortunately some outside advocacy groups, wrongly claim that H.R. 2048 ends “bulk” collection. It is true that the bill ends the phone dragnet as we currently know it—by having the phone companies themselves hold, search, and analyze certain data at the request of the government, which is worse in many ways given the broader set of data the companies hold—but H.R. 2048 actually expands the statutory basis for the large-scale collection of most data.
You see Congressman Greg Walden was concerned for your safety and so he voted to pass the bill. Apparently Walden thinks the only way to keep Americans safe is to continue to spy and collect data on law-abiding citizens in case one of us goes rogue. This is a Statist approach to providing safety, by watching every citizens every move. This is not the approach afforded the United States government via the Constitution. So once again our Congressman pretends he's working hard for us, while he is voting away our liberty.
Mr. Walden is lost when it comes to what his constituents really want. It seems 16 years DC has transformed the idea of a limited government into a spying one. But it gets worse. So far in 2015 Congressman Walden is getting F grades by all conservative voting record watch dog groups (Freedom Works, Heritage Action and Conservative Review). Walden’s anti-liberty vote comes on the heels of his February decision to fully support and fund Obama's Illegal Amnesty program after claiming he would fight it. Some conservative Mr. Walden turns out to be?!?
Please share this web page with everyone you know who wants to preserve liberty over government spying. If you would like to read more about HR 2048, Representative Justin Amash has a great post explaining what the bill really is and how the proponents, like Walden, are and will make false claims defending their stance.