Home Tech The future of America’s largest spy program is being decided right now

The future of America’s largest spy program is being decided right now

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The future of America's largest spy program is being decided right now

The US government, like its rivals in Moscow and Beijing, has invested untold millions of dollars to quietly turn its own citizens’ phones and Internet browsers into a powerful intelligence-gathering tool. Shady deals between federal agencies and commercial data brokers have helped the US intelligence system amass a “vast amount” of what its own experts call “intimate information” about Americans.

Most American citizens are unaware of the true scope and scale of the surveillance they are under.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, whose brief tenure as president has been marred by an ongoing debate over domestic intelligence abuses, previously supported several privacy measures which, now in power, he is working to defeat, including new strong limits on government access to data.

This week, Johnson is working to resolve the persistent problem of reauthorizing Section 702, a key foreign surveillance program authorized by Congress to target terrorists, cybercriminals and drug traffickers abroad. The program will officially expire on April 19.

Congressional sources told WIRED that a vote to save the program could occur as early as Thursday, following a series of briefings scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday between lawmakers and intelligence officials, as well as a series of smaller votes. which may significantly modify the terms of the program. program for the coming years.

The focus of privacy advocates has been almost entirely on an amendment that seeks to force the FBI and other agencies to seek a warrant before accessing Americans’ communications. by the way captured by the United States under the 702 program.

Thursday’s vote on the 702 program is at least the third scheduled by the president since December. As Johnson has in each case waited until the final moment to delay the vote, a fog of uncertainty surrounds the entire process. Privately, lawmakers are discussing next steps should the president decide to simply let the program expire, avoiding new legal limits on the government’s most prized surveillance weapon.

To stay up to date with a situation that is sure to evolve rapidly over the next 48 hours, WIRED will update this article with the latest details as they become available. See below for the latest developments.

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