Dennis Ross takes on FBI and NSA mass data collection with Relevancy Act

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U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross announced Friday his introduction of the Relevancy Act, with the goal of eliminating non-discriminatory data collection such as requiring companies like Verizon to turn over all of its caller data.

“The law requires that the records be relevant to the investigation. Conducting mass surveillance on all records from every Verizon subscriber goes far beyond the scope of the law and is an invasion of our freedoms and privacy,” said Ross. “This bill provides a starting point to make essential reforms. I look forward to working with the committee to ensure that we as a country keep our citizens safe from terrorist attacks while protecting our personal freedoms.”

Under the Business Records Section of the PATRIOT Act, the FBI may seek an order on behalf of the NSA for any tangible thing for an investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a US person, or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.  Tangible things include books, records, papers, documents, and more. 

The Relevancy Act would narrow these activities in two ways: first, but requiring the investigation to be  of a specific person or group of persons, and second, by requiring the tangible things to be related to a person that is subject to an investigation.