As the next U.S. Presidential election draws closer, the NSA and its surveillance programs come back into focus.
Another Republican presidential nominee has officially entered the race, as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) announced his candidacy today.
Key in that announcement? Senator Paul would effectively end the NSA's current surveillance programs. "I say that the phone records of law abiding citizens are none of [the government's] damn business," said Paul towards the end of his speech this morning (starting at the 22-minute mark). "...and as president, on day one, I will immediately end this unconstitutional surveillance."
"I believe we can have liberty and security, and I will not compromise your liberty for a full sense of security. Not now, not ever."
Senator Paul's remarks, coupled with John Oliver's take on Snowden and the NSA, have put the agency's surveillance programs in a renewed national spotlight. While fellow nominee Senator Ted Cruz has taken a reform approach on the NSA, Senator Paul effectively wants to see agency gone altogether. Paul voted against an NSA reform bill last year, saying the legislation didn't go far enough in limiting the Patriot Act, or the NSA's powers derived from the Act.
The first two Republican nominees for President are confirmed, and both have put the issues of the NSA and government surveillance center stage. And you can be sure that other Republican nominees, and the Democratic field alike will do exactly the same. No matter your thoughts on the ever-growing field of candidates, the fact that the NSA will be a cornerstone during the debates is proof-positive that the voting public cares. (And here's hoping net neutrality is just as in-focus down the road.)