Tag Archives: USA Patriot Act

‘Historic Tactical Win Against Surveillance’ as USA Freedom Act Fails in Senate

“The failure of these bills to pass shows just how dramatically the politics of surveillance changed once the extent of the government’s surveillance programs became known to the public.”

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published May 23, 2015

NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. Photo public domain via Wikimedia Commons

NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. Photo public domain via Wikimedia Commons

In a move that is being hailed by civil liberties advocates as a victory for privacy rights, the U.S. Senate on Friday rejected the USA Freedom Act, a bill that sought to rein in the National Security Agency’s (NSA) spying powers but that would have reauthorized some of the most controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act.

By a vote of 57-42, the Senate did not pass the bill that would have required 60 votes to move forward, which means that the NSA must start winding down its domestic mass surveillance program this week. The Senate also rejected a two-month extension of the existing program by 54-45, also short of the necessary 60 votes. Continue reading

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Fight Over Domestic Spying Heats Up in Congress with ‘USA Freedom Act’

With Patriot Act reauthorization quickly coming down the pipe, fight over surveillance reform represented in competing congressional bills

by Jon Queally, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published April 29, 2015.

 

(Photo: EFF/flickr/cc)

(Photo: EFF/flickr/cc)

A bipartisan bill, designed to rein in the bulk collection of the private communications of American citizens, was introduced Tuesday by members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, ahead of an upcoming expiration date for key Patriot Act provisions that have given legal authority to some of the most controversial domestic surveillance practices revealed over the last two years.

With a June 1 expiration for Sections 206 and 215 of the USA Patriot Act, initially rammed through Congress in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, the revisions contained in the new reform bill—submitted as the USA Freedom Act of 2015 (pdf)—would reauthorize certain aspects of that law while seeking to reform ways the government uses its spying capabilities. A similar reform bill was introduced last year in Congress, but ultimately did not gain enough support to pass. Continue reading

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