FISA Bill Will Require All U.S. Businesses To ‘Become NSA Spies’

By Sean Adl-Tabatabai – The People’s Voice

FISA bill will require all U.S. businesses to become NSA spies

The new FISA reauthorization bill includes a sneaky provision that will force all US businesses to act as pawns of the National Security Agency’s surveillance grid, whether they agree to or not.

The Section 702 provision of the FISA renewal bill requires officers of any US-based company that hosts any form of communication service to surrender surveillance data to the NSA or face prison time.

“Buried in the Section 702 reauthorization bill (RISAA) passed by the House on Friday is the biggest expansion of domestic surveillance since the Patriot Act. Senator [Ron] Wyden calls this power ‘terrifying,’ and he’s right,” wrote Elizabeth Goitein, Co-director of Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice on X Monday. reports: “Under current law, the government can compel ‘electronic communications service providers’ that have direct access to communications to assist the NSA in conducting Section 702 surveillance.”

“In practice, that means companies like Verizon and Google must turn over the communications of the targets of Section 702 surveillance. (The targets must be foreigners overseas, although the communications can—and do—include communications with Americans.),” she added.

But “an amendment offered by House intel committee (HPSCI) leaders and passed by the House vastly expands the universe of entities that can be compelled to assist the NSA,” she pointed out.

“If the bill becomes law, any company or individual that provides ANY service whatsoever may be forced to assist in NSA surveillance, as long as they have access to equipment on which communications are transmitted or stored—such as routers, servers, cell towers, etc.”

“That sweeps in an enormous range of U.S. businesses that provide wifi to their customers and therefore have access to equipment on which communications transit. Barber shops, laundromats, fitness centers, hardware stores, dentist’s offices… the list goes on and on.”

“It also includes commercial landlords that rent out the office space where tens of millions of Americans go to work every day—offices of journalists, lawyers, nonprofits, financial advisors, health care providers, and more,” she said, adding it also “would encompass hotels, libraries, and coffee shops.”

But the expanded Section 702 requirements even include services that are provided within individuals’ homes such as “house cleaners, plumbers, people performing repairs, and IT services providers.”

“None of these people or businesses would be allowed to tell anyone about the assistance they were compelled to provide. They would be under a gag order, and they would face heavy penalties if they failed to comply with it,” Goitein wrote.

She also warned that the the vast new “Orwellian” powers could easily be abused despite assurances by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence that the government wouldn’t abuse the new powers.

“There are certain powers a government should not have in a democracy. The ability to force ordinary businesses and individuals to serve as surrogate spies is one of them. Even if the targets are supposed to be foreigners, a power this sweeping WILL be abused.”

The FISA bill is set for a Senate vote on April 19, and the Biden White House is anxious to get it passed.

If there’s an opportunity to remove this provision, senators should remove it. If not, they should vote against the bill,” Goitein wrote.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden sounded the alarm about these disturbing revelations, calling Goitein’s analysis “the most important thread you will read this year.”

The House passed the FISA reauthorization bill on a bipartisan basis last Friday by a vote of 273-147 with the backing of House Speaker Mike Johnson, who previously criticized FISA’s spying powers and storied history of abuse, including against former President Donald Trump in 2016.

Start the Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *