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The failure of the Patriot Act review vote reveals a Senate uninterested in digital freedoms

The Senate has renewed the ability for the FBI to access citizens' internet history without a warrant.

One of the most significant changes that can be observed in the United States over the last few years has been the ever-increasing division and polarization. It seems that on crucial enough issues like privacy and government surveillance, the Senate can be just as polarized.

In yet another blow of bad news, the Senate has voted not protect Americans’ internet browsing and search data from secret mass government surveillance.

USA Freedom Reauthorization Act of 2020 required 60 votes to pass. It got 59. That’s right, folks. We were one single vote away from finally ending the Patriot Act; a sore thumb on America’s history of being a beacon for freedom.

The aging topic of our aging politician problem in America is rearing its head again as a result of the vote. The average age of US Senators today is 63 – the highest it’s ever been. All presidential candidates under that age group seem to get disqualified very early on.

Such arguments are often met with accusations of age discrimination, claims that age doesn’t matter, age brings experience, etc. But one thing age, unfortunately, does seem to bring is luddism.

It’s demonstrably more difficult for an older person, almost linearly, to get a handle on modern-day technologies than it is for a younger person.

At a time when the technological revolution has invaded and largely taken over our personal lives, many are calling for term limits to ensure we’re constantly bringing in fresh talent with fresh perspectives to an ever-evolving world. We need decision-makers that understand how Facebook and YouTube actually work in order to restrain them, and how the blockchain works to leave it alone and let it revolutionize our financial system.

Here are the 37 senators that voted to let the FBI seize your internet history, even without a warrant:

  • 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)

Four senators missed the vote, including Sanders and Murray. At least one of these four would have voted in favor and brought an end to legal government mass surveillance. But didn’t show up.

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