The NSA’s Bulk Phone Data Collection Program Is On Life Support

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Posted 2 years ago


2000px-US-Congress-UnofficialSeal.svgIn what’s sure to be a move watched with great anticipation by activists and privacy advocates alike, the House of Representatives decisively voted in favor of ending the federal government’s controversial bulk collection of phone records that was conducted by the National Security Agency on Wednesday.

The initial reports from Washington, D.C. saw the final tally stand at 338 in favor and 88 opposed. The bipartisan bill comes about in the wake of a federal appeals court ruling handed down last week that declared the bulk collection of records as illegal, and made its way to a vote a scant two weeks before the expiration of the Patriot Act by-law which enables that collection of data on June 1st.

The vote now moves the bill to the Senate, where majority leader Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is at the forefront of one faction who opposes the bill, and his fellow senator Rand Paul who opposes the bill on the grounds that it doesn’t provide even more restrictions on federal oversight of data collection period. And it gets more complex from there, since the new bill itself would remove data collection from the federal government but revert all of the data back to private telecommunication companies.

The early expectations are that the bill will pass even if there are moves to filibuster within the Senate, but there are efforts by senators to try to provide a temporary extension of the Patriot Act to try to work out a more appealing bill to be voted on.

Christopher A. Smith


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