U.S. Senator Ron Wyden and Congressmen Earl Blumenauer addressed members of the Portland City Club Friday in a special forum on surveillance and privacy. The two politicians presented a united front in their effort to reform government data collection programs.
Referring to himself and Blumenauer as “privacy watchdogs,” Wyden outlined two programs he promises to work to reform.
He said the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records has yet to provide any useful information and that PRISM, a program under which the National Security Agency collects Internet communications, has some value but is being misused.
Wyden told City Club members that he and Blumenauer reject the idea that liberty and security are mutually excusive.
“Earl and I are telling you that is a false choice. That is a false choice,” Wyden said.
Blumenauer said he agrees with Wyden that some government surveillance programs have failed to make Americans any safer, but he says “I think he understated it. I think some of this makes us less safe.”