Tester statement on new restrictions on government surveillance

Senator: ‘Today’s announcement does not end need for real debate’

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester, a leading Senate advocate for privacy rights and civil liberties, today released the following statement after news that President Obama plans to end the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records:

“Ending bulk collection of Americans’ phone records is good news. However, today’s announcement does not end the need for a real debate about unacceptable government surveillance of law-abiding Americans. I will continue to push for responsible legislation – like the USA Freedom Act – which takes strong steps to balance privacy rights with national security and lives up to our constitutional freedoms.”

Tester, who consistently votes to repeal the Patriot Act, co-sponsored multiple pieces of legislation to restrict government surveillance in the wake of the revelations made by Edward Snowden last summer. One bill, the USA Freedom Act, would block the National Security Agency from bulk collection of Americans’ records, but also close the “back door search” loophole, reform the FISA Court by creating an independent privacy advocate during court proceedings, and make other reforms.