Stillwater, NY - In 1984, Apple warned of a "Big Brother" takeover through a commercial during the Super Bowl to promote their latest product. In June of 2013, Edward Snowden leaked top-secret documents which he took from the National Security Agency (NSA) showing how data was being collected on every American citizen. And with the recent renewal bill of FISA 702 (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act 702) passing the House earlier today, with the help of Congresswoman Stefanik, our privacy is still being threatened.

The vote, 256 to 164, allows the government to continue to collect communications from U.S. Citizens, and foreign entities, from U.S. based firms like Verizon and Google, without a warrant. This means your phone calls, emails, and online activity can be searched by the NSA without any due cause.

"This is a huge disregard of the 4th Amendment. This bill would allow the government to collect, retain, and search communications from citizens even if there is no cause to do so. It's a warrantless search. Every citizen in the United States has a right to privacy even in the digital era," stated Patrick Nelson, Democratic Congressional candidate for NY-21.

Another bill, USA Rights, which failed to pass the House earlier, co-sponsored by Congressman Amash (R-MI) and Congresswoman Lofgren (D-CA), would have been an amendment in which it would require the FBI to obtain a warrant before it searched the NSA’s surveillance database on American citizens. Congresswoman Stefanik voted against the amendment.

“Thank you to the 183 Republicans and Democrats who voted yes on the Amash-Lofgren USA Rights Amendment. We fell short today, but a large, growing coalition is standing up for the American people. We’ll never stop defending the 4th Amendment, our Constitution, and all our rights,” Congressman Amash tweeted.

The 4th Amendment protects your right to privacy - the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

“On January 4, 2017, Congresswoman Stefanik swore to uphold the Constitution. On January 11, 2018, she had a chance to do just that as part of a common sense, bipartisan coalition and she failed to do so,” said Nelson.

The bill must now pass the Senate.

Patrick Nelson