As Federal Government Gains Spying Authority, Tester Blasts Congress for Inaction

(U.S. Senate) – Senator Jon Tester today blasted Congress for refusing to take up his legislation that would have blocked the government’s increasing ability to conduct electronic surveillance against Montanans.

Starting today, the government will have increased authority to access Americans’ personal information on their computers due to procedural changes for obtaining a search warrant in federal court.

“Like all Montanans, I’m deeply concerned about the federal government’s increasing authority to spy on its citizens,” said Tester. “We must do everything in our power to keep our nation safe while also protecting our right to privacy and other civil liberties.”

Tester’s bipartisan Stopping Mass Hacking Act would have prevented the changes from going into effect today that allow the government to get a single warrant to remotely search, copy, and seize information from computers without the consent or knowledge of their owners. The new changes could allow one judge to issue a warrant allowing a search of hundreds, thousands, or millions of devices located across the country.

Tester called on Congress to immediately take up his legislation to protect Montanans’ right to privacy.