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Thinking back to how big of a scandal it was when President Obama signed the USA Freedom Act in 2015, and more generally how much flak Obama received with his handling of the 2013 surveillance disclosures related to mass surveillance being carried out by the U.S. intelligence community, have any 2020 Democratic primary candidates openly opposed these policies and stated they would work to overturn them?

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Do any 2020 Democratic primary candidates support repealing the PATRIOT Act and eliminating mass surveillance in the United States?

Opponents of the PATRIOT Act and Section 702 mass surveillance claim these programs violate the U.S. Constitution, Fourth Amendment, or may be abused.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The list of candidates below includes only those, as of October 16, 2019, who indicated opposition to the PATRIOT Act or took a position against mass surveillance. Since this list was published, Cory Booker has exited and Michael Bloomberg has entered the Democratic primary race.

How the 2020 Presidential candidates stack up on the surveillance state, October 16, 2019.

Tulsi Gabbard

Over her years in Congress, Gabbard has paid close attention to surveillance issues. She has voted consistently and frequently in favor of surveillance reform, including co-sponsoring the Surveillance State Repeal Act, which would get rid of the PATRIOT Act and FISA Amendments Act entirely, and require warrants for collection of foreign surveillance data under Executive Order 12333.


Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders has co-sponsored legislation on Capitol Hill to outlaw mass surveillance (the Intelligence Oversight and Surveillance Reform Act). He has been a consistent voice in favor of reining in surveillance powers, voting against reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act, against CISA, against efforts to weaken the USA FREEDOM Act, and against cloture on a bill extending Section 702 mass surveillance powers.


Elizabeth Warren

Though surveillance issues have not been core to Warren’s candidacies for either Senate or President, she has developed an unexpectedly strong voting record on NSA reform. She has voted against reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act, against CISA, against efforts to weaken the USA FREEDOM Act, and against cloture on a bill extending Section 702 mass surveillance powers.


Beto O’Rourke

As a member of the House of Representatives and member of the Fourth Amendment Caucus, he helped to introduce the USA RIGHTS Act, tried to get warrantless surveillance defunded via amendment, voted against the reauthorization of Section 702 mass surveillance powers, advocated against FBI backdoor searches and opposed the use of drone surveillance at the border.


Cory Booker

He voted in favor of various amendments to improve the USA FREEDOM Act, against CISA, and against cloture on a bill extending Section 702 mass surveillance powers.

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    For clarifications sake, does a candidate’s absence from this list mean they support (or at least have no plans to oppose) mass surveillance, or is it simply that you didn’t have information on them? – divibisan Jan 19 at 4:26
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    @divibisan: the article linked also covers the other candidates.. and gives everyone grades on this issue. They gave Biden and a "D-" for instance, with this summary "The general tenor of Biden’s approach to government surveillance powers seems clear: Notwithstanding a short period of opposition in 2006, he has generally worked to expand them, and to silence people who blew the whistle on them." Rick's answer included only those with a grade of B- or better and who are still in the race. – Fizz Jan 19 at 6:03
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    The Intelligence Oversight and Surveillance Reform Act will never survive public scrutiny without a misleading acronym. You can't exactly repeal FREEDOM or PATRIOTism without something better. How about the Freedom Reform Enacted to Elicit Government Underfunding of Network Surveillance Act? (FREE GUNS Act) – user253751 Feb 28 at 14:04

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