Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul won’t cut Silicon Valley any breaks over its part in National Security Agency spying programs, and thinks consumers should be able to sue tech giants for their participation in bulk surveillance.
“I don’t like immunity. I think, really, you should honor your contract,” Paul told TechCrunch at the State of The Net Conference at in Washington, D.C.
The 2016 presidential hopeful was referring to the immunity granted to communications companies in the PATRIOT Act for their cooperation in allowing government agencies to tap their networks and collect data. NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander is reportedly pushing Congress to grant tech and communications giants “blanket immunity” for their contributions.
“This is something they [tech companies] may not like me for, but we made a mistake in the PATRIOT Act by saying that we immunize the telephone companies and Internet people from being sued. I want a contract with Google and I want them to adhere to that contract,” Paul said.
Paul is part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed a bill to reform the intelligence agency’s permissions and capabilities. The want to end the bulk collection of metadata and make it possible for individuals to sue the NSA for violations of privacy and being unlawfully surveilled.
Paul also filed a lawsuit against the agency for the same mass metadata collection programs whose existence former NSA contractor Edward Snowden disclosed a cache of classified documents to news outlets in June.
But the senator stated he doesn’t believe the government should impose restrictions on the methods used by tech companies to gather personal data on users, so long as those methods are disclosed and consumers agree to them.