House of Representatives has rejected the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records after voting in favor of the USA Freedom Act.
A 338-to-88 overwhelming vote in favor of the USA Freedom Act, already backed by the White House, means Senate backing would make it law.
The bill would empower the NSA to search data held by telephone companies on a case-by-case basis.
Supporters of the Freedom Act, including privacy and civil rights advocates, say it protects privacy while preserving national security powers.
The bill, which only affects people within the US, would amend sections of the USA Patriot Act, which was passed after the 9/11 attacks and which will expire on June 1st.
The amendments would ban the NSA’s mass collection of telephone data – phone numbers, time and duration of calls – as well as emails and web addresses.
“Americans’ liberty and America’s security can co-exist,” said House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte, who voted in favor of the bill.
“These fundamental concepts are not mutually exclusive.”
Earlier this month, a US appeals court ruled that bulk collection of phone records by the National Security Agency was illegal.