If you’re a utility provider or state employee in Washington and one of your customers happens to be the National Security Agency, you could be looking at a year in prison, thanks to a new bill by state lawmakers.
Watchdog.org reports the “Fourth Amendment protection act” lays down serious repercussions for corporations and state employees servicing the NSA, including misdemeanors, fines in the thousands of dollars, unemployment and jail time.
The bill, originating in the Washington State House and written by Republican Rep. David Taylor and Democratic Rep. Luis Moscoso, advanced to the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday and already carries bipartisan support.
Taylor’s district is home to an NSA listening post at the U.S. Army’s Yakima Training Facility, and many of his constituents have expressed their support for the bill.
“Just because there are terrorists in this world does not give the government the opportunity or the right to ignore the Constitution of the United States,” Taylor told Watchdog.org. “At what point will we as a society quit allowing our government to use terrorism as the excuse to infringe upon the liberties and freedoms that we all hold so dearly?”
If passed, the new law would forbid any “material support, participation, or assistance to any federal agency” that collects bulk electronic metadata without a warrant, directly targeting the NSA’s use of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to justify the surveillance of American citizen’s private data.
Washington state agencies, employees, contractors, political organizations and corporations would all be subject to the law, which also outlaws providing agencies like the NSA with any assets like state funds, or from using information obtained from the agency in criminal investigations.
According to Watchdog multiple versions of the the bill, based on proposals from Anti-NSA advocacy group OffNow.org, have appeared in numerous states including Arizona, California, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.