A new bill unveiled this week advocates increased transparency to existing court-ordered surveillance laws, requiring individuals to be made aware of the monitoring of their communications.
The Government Surveillance Transparency Act places new limits on how long surveillance material can be sealed for, and would require law enforcement officials at federal and state levels to alert individuals being surveilled, NextGov reports.
Sponsored by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; and Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., the bill aims to promote transparency on the thousands of criminal surveillance warrants ordered by courts each year. It specifically works to include digital communications, such as e-mails and search histories, as well as more traditional calls and wiretaps.
The pending legislation does carry exceptions: while it calls for non-disclosure orders for people undergoing court-ordered surveillance, it notes that special mitigating circumstances allow law enforcement to withhold surveillance information past 180 days. These conditions revolve around whether or not discussing the surveillance would jeopardize a criminal case or threaten the life of an individual.