“Today’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the federal government’s use of its surveillance authorities highlighted many of the concerns I have expressed with respect to the scope and breadth of government collection of information on Americans,” Senator Lee said. “The Fourth Amendment’s protection against ‘unreasonable searches and seizures’ is designed to prevent against precisely the kind of suspicionless fishing expeditions that the government is currently carrying out under its telephony metadata collection program. Only by narrowing the statutory authorities the government purports to justify this highly intrusive surveillance of innocent Americans can we restore the proper constitutional balance.
“We must also increase the transparency with which the nation’s surveillance programs operate. Unless we take steps to restore credibility and public confidence in these programs, we risk not only violating individual privacy, but also harming the competitiveness of important economic interests in the technology and telecommunications industries, including many Utah based companies, that rely on public trust. I believe more information about how these programs operate can be made public without endangering national security.”
“I have worked in the past with Chairman Leahy and other colleagues to introduce important legislation on these topics. I look forward to continuing to work with Chairman Leahy to introduce legislation to narrow controversial surveillance authorities, enhance government oversight of surveillance programs, and increase transparency.”