The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, a government watchdog responsible for reviewing surveillance programs, is facing a complete breakdown over disagreements on its latest report on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The report includes 19 recommendations on how to better protect privacy and civil liberties, but two board members criticized it as “contrary to the evidence and unmoored from the law.” Section 702 allows the National Security Agency to collect foreign communications from U.S. tech providers, but it also sweeps up the communications of Americans who interact with those foreigners. Critics argue that this violates Americans’ privacy rights. The report recommends that all queries of the database for information on U.S. citizens require approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. However, this falls short of the requirement for a probable cause warrant, which reform lawmakers have pushed for. The split among board members is unlikely to settle the ongoing debate over surveillance reform.

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By hassani

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