14:13 GMT25 September 2020
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    The US Senate is again preparing to vote on a pack of law amendments that would empower the FBI to get warrantless access to personal data and the nonprofit group Fight for the Future is taking a stand against the bill and against increasingly ubiquitous government surveillance.

    Established in 2011, Boston-based Fight for the Future, alongside other legacy internet privacy advocates, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has worked to ensure freedom of expression and creativity on the web. Their newest venture, called Decide the Future, aims to raise the awareness of internet users, and encourage them to prevent the implementation of a controversial bill proposed by US Senator John McCain (R-AZ).

    “The Internet is integrated into every part of our lives—what we allow to happen with our data will shape the future of our society,” the website states. “We're now on the brink of making big decisions about the kinds of power governments and monopolies have to use this data against our own interests. We have to draw the line in the sand now.”

    The group has rated US senators and multinational tech companies, including Twitter and Facebook, based on their positions regarding surveillance and privacy. The views of those in focus were determined through analysis of a person or firm’s public statements. Those who appear to support online government surveillance are quaintly placed in a group labeled “Team NSA,” while those who consistently stand for constitutional freedoms are placed in a group labeled “Team Internet.”

    The activists intend for the ratings guide to help people in “deciding how to vote and whom to fund” in elections. The campaign also brings into view controversial draft laws that Congress seeks to pass, urging internet users to vote with an eye on those initiatives.

    The activist website also allows Americans to say “no” to McCain’s surveillance proposal by providing contact information enabling citizens to call senators prior to the bill’s vote.

    Earlier, senators fell short of implementing a bill that advocate groups dubbed as "one of the most frightening and invasive" surveillance tactics available to the FBI, granting the agency power to use National Security Letters (NSLs) to access electronic communication transaction records (ECTR), including a person’s location, content of emails and browsing history. Under the bill, the agency could also require letter recipients to keep silent about their receipt of an NSL.

    The former NSA contractor Edward Snowdenhas spoken in favor of the campaign in his Twitter account, prompting his followers calling to senators before the bill is passed.

    ​The US Senate will vote on the bill again later this week.


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