Mozilla recently announced it’s support for the USA Freedom Act alongside allies like the EFF, but the EFF also ended up withdrawing its support because of deficiencies in the legislation and a recent opinion from an appeals court.
I think Mozilla should have withdrawn its support on this still flawed bill because while it did push forward some important reforms it still extended flawed sections of the law that infringe on individual’s civil liberties such as Section 206 “Roving Wiretap” authority program. This program essentially allows the FBI access to any phone line, mobile communications or even internet connections a suspect may be using without ever having to provide a name to anyone. This is clearly not good legislation because it allows overreach and lacks a requirement that communications or accounts being tapped are tied to the subject. While this is just one example there are many other provisions that allow intelligence and law enforcement agencies to continue their spying, just not as broadly as before.
What we need is smarter legislation that allows law enforcement and intelligence agencies to do their work without infringing on the privacy or civil liberties of everyday Americans, you know, like back when domestic spying was entirely illegal.
Wikipedia does a great job of documenting some good information about the USA Freedom Act and I would encourage folks to check out the article and research this piece of legislation more. Remember this bill only passed because it had concessions for Pro-Intelligence legislators, the same folks who created the Patriot Act and opened up spying on Americans in the first place.
I think Mozilla could have done better by withdrawing support and it is good to see that while the EFF is celebrating some parts of the USA Freedom Act it is also mourning some of the concessions.