Phone Records Section of PATRIOT Act to Sunset in December

Privacy advocates are calling for changes to the PATRIOT Act -- specifically the section allowing the feds to spy on your phone records.

Section 215 is set to expire in December. Groups like Demand Progress call it a waste of time, and it should either be allowed to expire or drastically narrowed.

“The government collected over 434,000,000 phone records, looking for 11 targets in 2018,” says spokesperson Sean Vitka. “That is an absolute unacceptable amount privacy impact for the negligible value that Section 215 offers in terms of national security.”

“The government has literally argued in the past, to find the needle you need the haystack, and we don't believe that's true,” he says. “The more hay you have, the more time you're wasting, the resources and personnel time your'e wasting looking at information that is not relevant, but is revealing and sensitive for the rest of us.”

Demand Progress and others are pressing House Democrats to narrow the scope. Then it's an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate which has a history of supporting homeland security practices.

“Unless Congress does something, it sunsets. It goes back to a previous version that didn't allow for this kind of mass surveillance,” he says.

However, Vitka admits Congress could simply pass an extension and punt the issue into the next presidency.

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