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Senate votes down FISA amendment to protect Americans' browsing histories

Law without amendment allows 'open season on anybody's most personal information,' senator argues.

Published: May 13, 2020 3:04pm

Updated: May 13, 2020 10:14pm

The Senate on Wednesday voted down an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that would have shielded Americans' web browser histories from warrantless surveillance investigations. 

The proposed FISA amendment, one of three on which senators are scheduled to vote this week, was put forth by Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden and Montana Republican Senator Steve Daines. Wyden on Wednesday had urged passage of the amendment, claiming that without it, FISA enables "open season on anybody's most personal information."

Comparing it to the 2001 PATRIOT Act, Wyden called FISA's powers to investigate web histories "thousands of times more invasive of privacy."

The measure failed to pass by one vote. 

The failure of that amendment may suggest a tough road for the subsequent two provisions, one of which, authored by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, would prohibit the FISA court from allowing surveillance on United States citizens. 

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