BREAKING: US Senate passes Freedom Act

Posted by Soledad Vega on Tue, 06/02/2015 - 14:49

Two years after Edward Snowden's disclosures, today the Senate passed the most significant surveillance reform in decades.

Article by Sabrina Siddiqui for The Guardian

The US Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that would end the bulk collection of millions of Americans’ phone records, the most significant surveillance reform for decades and a direct result of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations to the Guardian two years ago.

Senators voted 67-32 to pass the USA Freedom Act, which overwhelmingly cleared the House of Representatives last month and will now head to the White House for Barack Obama’s signature. The president praised the bill’s passage and said he would “sign it as soon as I get it”. 

The passage of the USA Freedom Act paves the way for telecom companies to assume responsibility of the controversial phone records collection program, while also bringing to a close a short lapse in the broad NSA and FBI domestic spying authorities. Those powers expired with key provisions of the Patriot Act at 12.01am on Monday amid a showdown between defense hawks and civil liberties advocates.

The American Civil Liberties Union praised the passage of the USA Freedom Act as “a milestone” but pointed out that there were many more “intrusive and overbroad” surveillance powers yet untouched.

“This is the most important surveillance reform bill since 1978, and its passage is an indication that Americans are no longer willing to give the intelligence agencies a blank check. It’s a testament to the significance of the Snowden disclosures and also to the hard work of many principled legislators on both sides of the aisle,” Jameel Jaffer, the group’s deputy legal director, said in a statement.

- Read more at The Guardian