Home Tags Posts tagged with "usa freedom act"

usa freedom act


The Senate passed the USA Freedom Act without any amendments, on a vote of 67-32, and sent the bill to President Barack Obama to sign into law.

The USA Freedom Act extends the government’s ability to collect large amounts of data, but with restrictions. The bill will end the mass collection of Americans’ phone records by the NSA, restore some expired powers to security agencies, place record storage in private companies’ hands, create a public-interest advocate for the secret FISA court (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance) that oversees surveillance programs, and require the court to notify Congress when it reinterprets law.

The Patriot Act, the policy of collecting phone data had been in place since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The USA Freedom Act, which replaces the Patriot Act, had been backed by President Barack Obama as a necessary tool to fight terrorism.

Barack Obama later signed the bill into law.Rand Paul USA Freedom Act

The bill replaces a National Security Agency (NSA) program in which the spy agency collected personal data en masse.

The revelation of this program by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden triggered a global public backlash.

Instead of receiving bulk quantities of data from telephone and internet companies the NSA will now be forced to request the information through a court order.

The data will also be stored on telephone and internet company servers rather than government servers.

The request must be specific to an individual entity such as a person, account, or electronic device.

A six-month transition will be in place as the policy shifts so that data storage remains with private companies, rather than on government servers.

The law’s passage had been temporarily blocked by libertarian-minded senators who are fearful of government’s intrusion into individuals’ private lives.

Kentucky senator and presidential hopeful Senator Rand Paul repeatedly criticized the bill from the Senate floor.

“We are not collecting the information of spies. We are not collecting the information of terrorists. We are collecting all American citizens’ records all of the time,” Rand Paul said.

“This is what we fought the revolution over.”

The Freedom Act had been approved by the House of Representatives and the White House but the Senate rejected it last week by a vote of 57-42.

Once it became clear that the Patriot Act extension would not be possible, senators voted to move forward with the Freedom Act.

The Senate has blocked the USA FREEDOM Act – a bill that would have ended the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records by the NSA.

It also failed to authorize a temporary extension of the current legislation, the PATRIOT Act. Senators are to meet again on May 31 – a day before the bill is due to expire.

A US appeals court has already ruled the bulk collection illegal.

The NSA’s spying was leaked by its former contractor Edward Snowden in 2013.

Edward Snowden has since fled to Russia.

Photo Chicago Tribune

Photo Chicago Tribune

The NSA has collected data about numbers called and times, but not the content of conversations. It also allegedly spied on European companies.

Among individuals targeted was German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The White House has pressed the Senate to back the bill passed by the House of Representatives. Domestic phone records would remain with telephone companies subject to a case-by-case review.

The 57-42 Senate vote fell short of the 60-vote threshold.

Another vote held over a two-month extension to the existing programs – Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act – also failed to reach the threshold.

Supporters of the proposed FREEDOM Act, including privacy and civil rights advocates, say it protects privacy while preserving national security powers.

The PATRIOT Act was passed after the 9/11 attacks and which will expire on June 1.

Edward Snowden’s revelations in June 2013 caused an international outcry, despite US administrations insisting the program has been fully authorized.

The measures have been repeatedly approved in secret by a national security court since 2006.


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.

Bulk collection was revealed in 2013 by NSA’s former contractor Edward Snowden.House approves USA Freedom Act

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.