Sen. Feinstein put forth a bill designed to allow the NSA to monitor their calls. Sen. Feinstein wants the NSA to continue to collect the metadata of every phone call in the United States—that’s who you call, who calls you, the time and length of the conversation, and under the government’s interpretation, potentially your location—and store it for five years. This is not an NSA reform bill, it’s an NSA entrenchment bill.
Other parts of the bill claim to bring a modicum of transparency to small parts of the NSA, but requiring some modest reporting requirements, like how many times NSA searches this database and audit trails for who does the searching.
But its real goal seems to be to just paint a veneer of transparency over still deeply secret programs. It does nothing to stop NSA from weakening entire encryption systems, it does nothing to stop them from hacking into the communications links of Google and Yahoo’s data centers, and it does nothing to reform the PRISM Internet surveillance program.
Ironically, a bill that claims to bring transparency to the NSA was debated, discussed and modified by the Intelligence Committee today in secret.
So Feinstein has no problem at all with the NSA keeping tabs on everyone. Unless of course it’s happening to her and other members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Then, it’s an “unconstitutional” violation of the 4th Amendment.
Now, Feinstein is getting upset because she saw a drone peering into her window. She wants more regulations over drone use:
In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday night, the California Democrat said a drone spied into the window of her home during a protest outside her house, and that privacy concerns for the technology were “major.”
Feinstein appeared as a pro-regulation voice in a Morley Safer segment on the legal questions surrounding the commercial drone industry.
“When is a drone picture a benefit to society? When does it become stalking? When does it invade privacy? How close to a home can a drone go?” Feinstein said, listing questions she would like to see answered in the complex regulation process.
“I’m in my home and there’s a demonstration out front, and I go to peek out the window and there’s a drone facing me,” she recalled.
Demonstrators from Code Pink who were protesting government surveillance at the time, said the device was merely a toy helicopter, but Feinstein used the instance to sound off about the importance of controlling the technology through government regulation.
“It’s going to have to come through regulation— perhaps regulation of size and type for private use,” she said. “Some certification of the person that’s going to operate it … some specific regulation on the kinds of uses it can be put to.”
Feinstein, who is the chairwomen of the senate intelligence committee, has been a defender of the NSA’s spying program, but raised questions about the use of drones for law enforcement.
“This is a whole new world now, and it has many complications,” Feinstein said. “What is an appropriate law enforcement use for a drone? When do you have to have a warrant? When don’t you have to have a warrant? What’s the appropriate governmental use for a drone?”
Why is she all of a sudden bringing up warrants? She doesn’t have any problem with warrantless wiretaps and national surveillance of American citizens (unless she or her committee members are the target). The principle here with drones is the same. Any warrantless, widespread surveillance by government “just in case” is unconstitutional. Searches and seizures require warrants obtained by a judge based on probable cause and specific to the person and items to be searched and/or seized. It’s that simple. If she doesn’t like drone surveillance, then she shouldn’t like any of the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs.