What’s Section 215, And Why Should You Care?

Posted on Apr 21, 2015 by Rick Falkvinge

This year, U.S. laws used to justify mass surveillance are set to expire, but the U.S. Congress will renew those laws unless overwhelmingly told to let mass surveillance die on schedule. The relevant part of the law is Section 215 of the so-called Patriot Act, which will expire this June unless renewed. It says that mostly anything may be wiretapped and recorded if it’s relevant to an investigation. That has been interpreted to mean that everything can be wiretapped and recorded, and that needs to end.

Private Internet Access is a values-driven company. It’s easy to say that a company’s purpose and primary driver is to make money, and on the cover sheet, that’s true in the most literal sense. But as any really successful entrepreneur will tell you, if you try the startup game for the money, you will not be a successful entrepreneur. You have to follow your passion and show it to the world, and when you do so well, business will follow your passion.

At Private Internet Access, that passion is liberties in general and privacy in particular. We care about the Internet. We care about the right to private and unbought correspondence. Just as we supported Fight For The Future in their campaign to instate Net Neutrality in the United States, we wholeheartedly support any attempts to restore liberty from the very bad judgment that followed in the panic immediately after September 11, 2001.

One of the major initiatives to cease let this wiretap-everything legislation is Fight 215, led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and supported by a whole host of civil rights organizations. At PIA, we fully support this initiative, and we would encourage you to help spread the word to restore the sadly-lost liberty.

With the current mass surveillance and large-scale erosion of liberty, America can no longer be honestly said to be the Land of the Free. But – and this is the important part – we can make it so once more. That is more than a hope or a passion; that is an obligation to ourselves.

We have achieved what seemed to be miracles before, defeating the Internet-hostile SOPA and getting Net Neutrality enacted by the FCC. When the Internet speaks out in large numbers, that pressure doesn’t just make a difference; it creates an overwhelming force that legislators actually feel and follow. Now it’s time to not just stop the bad things, but turn the tide back and start getting our liberty back to the place where it should have been all along: with us.

Therefore, we don’t just support Fight 215; we encourage everybody else to spread the word. History shows us what’s possible.