• Senate Votes In Favor of Reforming the NSA's Phone Record Program



    The US Senate recently passed the USA Freedom Act, a bill which restores certain surveillance powers to the National Security Agency (NSA). The bill ended up receiving a 67 to 32 vote and now only needs a signature from President Obama to be ratified. Although it was seemingly popular in the House of Representatives, the Act became contentious in the state due to Republicans who are hoping to keep all of the surveillance powers of the Patriot Act from 2001 in place.

    For those of you who didnít know, several measures in the Patriot Act expired on June 1 which resulted in Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), engaging in a filibuster preventing their temporary renewal. The most controversial among the measures was Section 215 which the NSA used to justify bulk collection of phone metadata.

    This program was one of the many that were exposed in 2013 by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, who showed that the agency was collecting large amounts of data about Americans and foreigners alike regardless of whether or not they were under the suspicion of a crime. The majority of the data was obtained voluntarily or otherwise, from companies such as Apple, AT&T, Google Verizon and Microsoft. Snowden ended up feeling to Hong Kong before sharing the documents with The Guardian, now residing in Moscow on a temporary visa as he would be imprisoned on espionage charges if he came back to the United States.

    One of the provisions of the Freedom Act mandates that intelligence agencies must ask a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court for access to a carrierís phone records, which the company must hold for 18 months.
    McConnell previously allowed votes on three amendments that would have tipped the Freedom Act more in favor of more government power, but these ended up failing to gain traction. What weíre left with is partial surveillance powers with the curtailment of some of its greater excesses.

    Source: TechCrunch via AppleInsider
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Senate Votes In Favor of Reforming the NSA's Phone Record Program started by Akshay Masand View original post
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