The US government has introduced a new law which gives it new power to monitor the communications of foreign government officials and companies, including cell phone providers, cell phone security experts have warned.
The bill, titled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments of 2012, or Fisa, is part of a wider push by the Obama administration to increase its surveillance powers, including under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976.
The new law gives the government even greater control over who has access to the communications and data of foreign officials, including foreign companies, and which countries and countries they operate in.
Fisa is also the reason the government was able to collect the data of the communications between Donald Trump’s transition team and Russian officials.
The Trump administration says the law is necessary to fight terrorism.
But critics of the law argue it’s being used to harass journalists and journalists’ sources, which could jeopardise the lives of innocent Americans.
They also warn that the law would allow the government to spy on people whose communications are encrypted, and that would be a violation of their constitutional rights.
In addition, critics say the law could allow the FBI to collect and store information on Americans without a warrant.
They argue that, in this instance, the FBI is being allowed to monitor Americans who are simply trying to make their lives easier.
The Obama administration argued that it needed the authority to combat the threat posed by foreign agents, foreign actors, and foreign powers.
However, the bill was written by a Republican congressman and has broad support in the US Congress.
It’s likely that it will soon become law.
“The language of the bill is so broad and so broad-reaching that the FISA Amendments Act would allow any US citizen, business or government entity to get a warrant from a judge to get data on an American without even having to demonstrate that the American is ‘related’ to any foreign intelligence target,” said David Cole, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a tech-focused civil liberties group.
“That is a massive expansion of the NSA’s authority.”
In addition to the broad scope of the legislation, the US government also argues that the legislation provides a means for foreign governments to target Americans without having to go to court.
“This bill does nothing to prevent a foreign government from interfering with US domestic affairs.
Rather, it gives the executive branch the ability to use its cyber capabilities to interfere with a foreign nation’s cyberspace,” wrote Senator Ron Wyden, a Democrat, in a letter to the administration.
He noted that this is the first time in US history that a US president has used the word “cyber” in a national security law.
Wyden said that the bill’s broad language could give the US Government broad access to information on any American, regardless of the source of the information.
Widen said that even though the law does not explicitly mention any specific individuals, “this broad and vague language has the potential to permit the Government to gather the data on any US person without a court warrant, even without proving any wrongdoing.”
The US has also been using the bill to spy heavily on the phones of foreign leaders.
In 2016, for example, the Obama Administration issued an executive order that allowed it to monitor and track the phone calls of a number of foreign governments, including the UK, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Pakistan, and the UAE.
“It has been widely reported that these targeted foreign leaders include a number individuals with ties to al-Qaida and ISIS, including former US officials,” the government said in its legal opinion, according to a statement from the Department of Justice.
“Additionally, it is alleged that the targets of the program include leaders of terrorist groups in countries like Syria, Yemen, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia.
The government has also reportedly tapped the phones and emails of individuals with links to these groups.”
Wyden has previously been critical of the administration’s use of the surveillance powers under Fisa.
“Congress should not be allowed to be a rubber stamp for the executive’s secret surveillance powers,” he wrote in a 2016 letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
“When Congress is not even allowed to vote on the proposed Fisa Amendments Act, its only oversight function is to prevent the President from trampling on our constitutional rights.”
In February, Wyden and Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, introduced the Fisa Amendment Transparency and Accountability Act of 2016.
The legislation would require the Obama White House to report on its use of Fisa powers, and would require Congress to provide information on the use of these surveillance powers.