Judiciary starts work on surveillance transparency

The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin work on the Surveillance Transparency Act next week.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduced S. 1452, which would require the government to report details about its national surveillance programs in an effort to increase transparency over the government surveillance of U.S. citizens. He will lead the heading as chairman of the Judiciary subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law.

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“The American public are naturally suspicious of executive power, and when things are done secretly, they tend to think that power is being abused,” Franken said. “Right now, the public isn't getting the most basic information about what's going on with government surveillance programs. That needs to change.”

The bill’s co-sponsor, Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) is scheduled to testify at the hearing.

The National Security Agency has come under criticism since reports were leaked that the government has spied on U.S. citizens and foreign allies by collecting their phone data. 

Franken’s bill would also allow companies to report the numbers of government information requests they receive, and the number of their users affected by those requests.

On Tuesday, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray is scheduled to testify before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee to deliver a semi-annual report. Cordray will likely face tough questions from Republicans, who opposed the creation of the CFPB.

Details on these and other Senate hearings follow:

Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs

— Nov. 12 “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Semi-Annual Report to Congress”

2:30 p.m., 538 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Joint Budget Conference

— Nov. 13, “Joint Budget Conference Committee on 2014 Budget”

10 a.m., 1100 Longworth House Office Building

Joint Economic

— Nov. 13, “The Economic Outlook”

2:30 p.m., 216 Hart Senate Office Building 

Senate Energy and Natural Resources

— Nov. 14, “To Consider Pending Nominations”

9:30 a.m., 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety

— Nov. 12, “Payroll Fraud: Targeting Bad Actors Hurting Workers and Businesses”

2:30 p.m., 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building

— Nov. 14, “Ensuring Access to Higher Education: Simplifying Federal Student Aid for Today’s College Student”

10 a.m., 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

— Nov. 13, “Nomination of Jeh Johnson to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security”

10 a.m., 342, Dirksen Senate Office Building

— Nov. 14, “Threats to the Homeland”

10 a.m., 342, Dirksen Senate Office Building

Senate Indian Affairs

— Nov. 12, “Impacts of Sequestration on Indian Country”

2 p.m., 628 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Senate Judiciary

Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law

— Nov. 13, “The Surveillance Transparency Act of 2013”

10 a.m., 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building

— Nov. 13, “Judicial Nominations”

2 p.m., 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building