The United States has a long history of unwarranted surveillance on its citizens, mostly stemming from the Patriot Act signed into law after the September 11 attacks. The Patriot Act allowed various law enforcement agencies to conduct surveillance on citizens (without warrants) in the name of protecting against future terrorist attacks, and while that law has lapsed, a new amendment passed by the U.S. Senate once again allows law enforcement to rummage through your internet history with no probable cause.

The majority of the Patriot Act was renewed in November 2019, though some provisions were up for renewal again in March. The Senate broke for recess before the renewal could be voted on, but yesterday brought a new development. An amendment to the "USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020" (H.R.6172) presented by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allows the FBI and Department of Justice to seize internet searches and browser histories without a warrant.

In response, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT) presented a new amendment that would have removed the expanded surveillance measures from the bill. The amendment failed to pass in the U.S. Senate, with 59 votes in favor and 37 against. It was one vote short of passing, with four senators not showing up to vote. Below is the full list of senators who voted against the bill.

  • Barrasso, John (R-WY)
  • Blackburn, Marsha (R-TN)
  • Blunt, Roy (R-MO)
  • Boozman, John (R-AR)
  • Burr, Richard (R-NC)
  • Capito, Shelley Moore (R-WV)
  • Collins, Susan M. (R-ME)
  • Cornyn, John (R-TX)
  • Cotton, Tom (R-AR)
  • Fischer, Deb (R-NE)
  • Graham, Lindsey (R-SC)
  • Hyde-Smith, Cindy (R-MS)
  • Inhofe, James M. (R-OK)
  • Johnson, Ron (R-WI)
  • Lankford, James (R-OK)
  • McConnell, Mitch (R-KY)
  • Perdue, David (R-GA)
  • Portman, Rob (R-OH)
  • Roberts, Pat (R-KS)
  • Romney, Mitt (R-UT)
  • Rubio, Marco (R-FL)
  • Shelby, Richard C. (R-AL)
  • Thune, John (R-SD)
  • Tillis, Thom (R-NC)
  • Toomey, Patrick J. (R-PA)
  • Wicker, Roger F. (R-MS)
  • Young, Todd (R-IN)
  • Carper, Thomas R. (D-DE)
  • Casey, Robert P., Jr. (D-PA)
  • Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA)
  • Hassan, Margaret Wood (D-NH)
  • Jones, Doug (D-AL)
  • Kaine, Tim (D-VA)
  • Manchin, Joe, III (D-WV)
  • Shaheen, Jeanne (D-NH)
  • Warner, Mark R. (D-VA)
  • Whitehouse, Sheldon (D-RI)

The USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020 has yet to pass in its entirety, so it's possible that more drastic changes to the bill will be proposed. However, for the time being, U.S. elected senators seem more than happy to continue snooping on your internet history.