U.S. House approves measure to curb NSA data surveillance

The bill passed, even without support from privacy advocate that claim that the bill was too weak to earn their support

The U.S. government has made a new, solid effort towards stemming the action of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) data collection practices that have more than angered the international community. It is old news now that — revealed via Edward Snowden’s content leaks beginning in June 2013 and continuing until this day — the NSA has practiced widespread, thorough, and indiscriminate acts of surveillance. The global awareness that now exists about the NSA’s data collection practices has not just put the organization and the United States at the focal point of a concern around privacy and security, but has caused other global entities — namely Brazil and Germany — to put Internet privacy action forward on their political agendas. 

But on May 22, The U.S. House of Representatives approved measures to curb the NSA’s data collection practices that had overwhelming support from both Republicans and Democrats. The vote for the legislation is in favor of ending the bulk collection of phone records and more reform of the NSA’s surveillance practices.

The bill is known as the USA Freedom Act, and would transplant the responsibility of garnering phone data from the NSA to telephone companies. The Washington Post quotes Representative Zoe Logfren of California, who was a co-sponsor of the initial version of the bill:

"This is not the bill that was reported out of the judiciary bill unanimously. The result is a bill that will actually not end bulk collection, regrettably…If we leave any ambiguity at all, we have learned that the intelligence community will drive a truck through that ambiguity”

There has been a lack of support from privacy advocates who originally supported the initial bill that moved to end the phone data collection practices altogether. Privacy advocates have now said that the bill that was just passed is too weak to require their support. That bill did not garner as much support as the one that just passed in the house, but still, the current passed bill achieved an overwhelming and bipartisan approval in a 303 to 121 vote to generally amend the surveillance practices of the NSA.

 

Further reading:

 

NSA and GCHQ collecting data through popular mobile apps

NSA violated U.S. Constitution by collecting domestic data

Apple denies aiding NSA data collection from iPhones

Managing Editor

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Managing Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance arenas. Rich earned a B.A. in English Literature...

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