Lawmakers and privacy experts on both sides of the political spectrum are sounding the alarm on a provision in a spy powers reform bill that one senator described as one of the “most terrifying expansions of government surveillance” in history.

Eighty-six House Republicans last Friday voted for the Reforming Intelligence and Securing America Act (RISAA), a bill that would reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Section 702 is a government surveillance authority that is meant to target foreign adversaries, but often surveils Americans’ communications without a warrant.

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Despite the outrage at the passage of the legislation, 110 Republicans also voted for an amendment proposed by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) and committee Ranking Member Jim Himes (D-CT) that would seek dramatically expand the ability for the government to surveil Americans’ communications.

The measure updates the definition of electronic service provider to also include “any other service provider who has access to equipment that is being or may be used to transmit or store wire or electronic communications.”

The amendment would significantly expand the number of businesses and their employees who could be compelled to spy on their customers and provide warrantless access to their communications systems in accordance to this controversial FISA provision.

This provision has been referred to by privacy advocates as a “trojan horse” for “PATRIOT Act 2.0.”

Steve Bradbury, a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation and former Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department under George W. Bush, told Breitbart News during a press conference on Monday that the Turner-Himes is so vast in scope that experts may not truly understand how many companies, staffers, and other entities may be forced to surveil Americans.

He said to “think about third party contractors who may have access to equipment? What about, for example, a janitorial company, who has a key to a data center and comes in and cleans up the data center floor or something? Technically, they have access to the equipment. Could the NSA [National Security Agency] hit the janitorial company with an order requiring them to give the NSA access to that data center? So, the implications of it are troubling. And the full scope is unknowable at this point.”

Bradbury said it is clear that the intelligence community lobbied that the Biden administration and the lobbied the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) to get this amendment included in the bill.

The former Justice Department official said that the proposal raises “obvious civil liberties concerns just because we do not know the potential sweep and how they will try to use it.”

He said, “This collection is so sensitive and so powerful, that you really want to limit the universe of, of entities that may be involved and make it an order to participate in this. And, when you really need to know who they are, right now, you can basically count them on your two hands, you know, the, for the most part, the entities that operate systems where the surveillance would actually occur. And who knows now, how many are potentially swept in, it’s just an unknowable. And that’s a bad thing when it comes to powerful program like this that can sweep up so many communications.”

Billy Gribbin, the communications director for Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), told Breitbart News, “Senator Lee opposes this attempt to expand government surveillance by forcing even more private businesses to hand over the data of law abiding Americans. We must first reform FISA Sec. 702 before handing Washington additional ways to spy on our fellow citizens.”

Mark Davis, a former presidential administration staffer and policy director for the Project for Privacy & Surveillance Accountability, said the Himes-Turner amendment will bring America closer to a “Chinese-style Panopticon”:

This amendment represents a breathtaking expansion of the American surveillance state. It enlists landlords and owners of small businesses of all sorts — retail stores, fitness centers, dentists’ offices and commercial office buildings — as the government’s partners in warrantless surveillance. Lacking the expertise of major telecoms to categorize communications, small business owners will likely just hand over all their data or give the government direct access to their equipment. These privacy breaches will poison consumer confidence in the businesses they patronize. It will complicate the deep divide that already exists between the U.S. and the EU over privacy and spying. And it will be yet another massive step toward bringing a Chinese-style Panopticon to the United States. [Emphasis added]

Those on the left have also cried foul at the Turner-Himes proposal, referring it to as the “Everybody Is a Spy” amendment.

Demand Progress Policy Director Sean Vitka said in a written statement on Monday:

These moves from the Intelligence Committee add up to a brazen and deliberate attempt to sneak through one of the most terrifying expansions in the history of government surveillance. This is not speculative: the amendment clearly allows the government to secretly conscript uninvolved Americans and American businesses to spy on each other. These KGB-style powers pose an existential threat to our civil liberties. The Senate must block this provision.

If the Senate fails to remove this amendment from the bill, it will be handing the president, and whoever the next president is, a knife to ram through the back of democracy. [Emphasis added]

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), after the House passed RISAA, said in no uncertain terms:

The House bill represents one of the most dramatic and terrifying expansions of government surveillance authority in history. It allows the government to force any American who installs, maintains, or repairs anything that transmits or stores communications to spy on the government’s behalf. That means anyone with access to a server, a wire, a cable box, a wifi router, or a phone. It would be secret: the Americans receiving the government directives would be bound to silence, and there would be no court oversight. [Emphasis added]

He added, “I will do everything in my power to stop this bill.”

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.