As eight states have introduced legislation to keep the NSA out of their borders, Tennessee’s newly introduced legislation packs the strongest punch yet.
The bill is known as the “Tennessee Fourth Amendment Protection Act”. State Senator Stacey Campfield (R) and State Representative Andy Holt (R) are the Senate and House sponsors. The bill was drafted and lobbied for by the Tenth Amendment Center, a national think-tank, which seeks to impede unconstitutional federal laws, regulations and entities on the state level.
“We have an out of control federal agency spying on pretty much everybody in the world. I don’t think the state of Tennessee should be helping the NSA violate the Constitution and the basic privacy rights of its citizens – and we don’t have to,” Campfield said. “This bill may not stop the NSA, but it will darn sure stop Tennessee from participating in unjustified and illegal activities.”
Campfield’s comments hold strong warrant. The NSA has been operating directly underneath the nose of many Tennesseans without them ever knowing. A long-standing secretive NSA computing facility calls Oak Ridge, Tennessee home. According to NSA researcher James Bamford, the NSA runs most data it gathers “from code breaking to word captures,” through computers at it’s facility in Oak Ridge.
The Tennessee Fourth Amendment Protection Act (Senate Bill 1849) will impede the NSA by “refusing material support, participation, or assistance, to any federal agency which claims the power, or with any federal law, rule, regulation, or order which purports to authorize the collection of electronic data or metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant that particularly describes the person, place and thing to be searched and seized.
From a practical standpoint, the legislation covers four major areas.
• Prohibits state and local agencies from providing any material support to the NSA within their jurisdiction. Includes barring government-owned utilities from providing water and electricity.
• Makes information gathered without a warrant by the NSA and shared with law enforcement inadmissible in state court.
• Blocks public universities from serving as NSA research facilities or recruiting grounds.
• Disincentivizes corporations attempting to fill needs not met in the absence of state cooperation.