Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC Says New SAFE Act Will Safeguard Against Surveillance Abuses and Protect the Privacy and Civil Liberties for Millions of Americans

Bipartisan bill to safeguard against surveillance abuses, protect our nation
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins (202) 296-2300, ext. 0144

Washington, D.C. — Today, Senators Dick Durbin and Mike Lee introduced The Security and Freedom Enhancement (SAFE) Act, a new bipartisan bill to safeguard against surveillance abuses while including the necessary provisions required to gather the foreign intelligence used to protect our nation.

“Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian American Justice Center (Advancing Justice – AAJC) has relentlessly called attention to the blatant abuses of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that often ensnare Asian American immigrants and citizens in unnecessary surveillance because they have family, friends, and business associates living internationally – making them prime targets for  spying by the U. S. Government,” said John C. Yang, President and Executive Director of Advancing Justice – AAJC. “We applaud Senator Durbin, Senator Lee, and the other members of Congress who brought forth this bipartisan legislation.”

The SAFE Act aims to protects national security by reauthorizing Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) but adds key provisions that protect Americans’ privacy and civil liberties and stops government abuses.

Key provisions include:

  • Requires a warrant for accessing the contents of Americans' communications.
  • Closes the “data broker loophole” used by intelligence and law enforcement agencies to purchase Americans’ sensitive information from commercial data brokers, including location history, as a means to circumvent Fourth Amendment and statutory privacy protections.
  • Strengthens the FISA Court process, including by bolstering the role of amici curiae who assist the FISA Court in evaluating legal and technical issues raised by the government's surveillance activities.
  • Increases oversight of U.S. person queries and accountability for any future abuse of this warrantless surveillance authority.

The looming April 19th deadline for reauthorizing FISA Section 702 makes the bipartisan SAFE Act a timely and essential compromise bill that will protect everyone in America from surveillance abuses,” said Joanna YangQing Derman, Director, Anti-Profiling, Civil Rights and National Security at Advancing Justice – AAJC. “If passed, the SAFE Act will allow Asian Americans to breathe a little easier knowing they will not be the subject of the more than 500 warrantless searches that occur on Americans every day under the Section 702 status quo.”