Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) said he is appalled by revelations
that the National Security Agency (NSA) has access to data that allows analysts
to track Web users' keystrokes -- everything from emails to surfing histories.
A story in The
Guardian drawn from more information supplied by whistleblower/leaker Eric
Snowden said that NSA, via the so-called XKeyscore online tool, was able to
search "databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing
histories of millions of individuals."
"The revelation about XKeyscore is appalling, but not surprising,"
said Barton, who is cochair of the Congressional Bipartisan Privacy Caucus.
"For weeks we were assured that the NSA was only collecting unidentifiable
metadata that could only be accessed after a warrant was issued. The truth is
that by filling out a simple online form analysts could search your emails,
your online chats and even your browsing history without prior authorization.
This is a violation of your privacy, a violation of the 4th Amendment, and it
is just wrong.
"We need to thoroughly investigate the use of this program
and promptly pass legislation that will rein it in," he said.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the
government's data collection under FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
Act, Sen. Al Franken said he was introducing a bill that would force the
government to disclose how many people had had their info collected, and how
many had info reviewed by federal agents. It would also allow private companies
to provide aggregate figures on how many requests for info they had received.
In defending the phone record collection program
at the Senate hearing, deputy NSA director John Inglis argued that, to find the
needle, the government needed access to the haystack.