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Government Surveillance

USA FREEDOM Passes in the House as Focus Shifts to Senate

Today a strong bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives voted to end the NSA’s domestic bulk collection under the PATRIOT Act and enact other surveillance reforms by passing the USA FREEDOM Act. Now focus shifts to the Senate, which faces pressure to act by May 22, 2015, the last legislative day before Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act expires. The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) supports the legislation, and urges its swift passage in the Senate.

“Today’s vote was a major win for surveillance reform and a major rebuke for those who want to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act without change,” said CDT President & CEO Nuala O’Connor.  “With the House, privacy and civil liberties advocates, the tech industry, and the intelligence community all in support, the Senate’s choice next week should be clear: Pass this bill and end bulk collection.”

See the CDT-led letter of support for USA FREEDOM from civil society groups, companies and trade and industry associations.

“The USA FREEDOM Act provides the Senate with a clear path to addressing the concerns of both civil libertarians and the intelligence community,” added CDT Advocacy Director and Senior Counsel Harley Geiger. Geiger rejected the idea that the Senate should temporarily reauthorize Section 215 to extend the debate further. “This important issue has been debated for two years and a clear solution is now at hand. A short-term extension of PATRIOT authorities likely leads to a weaker bill, which we urge Congress to roundly reject.”

See CDT’s Q&A on the USA FREEDOM Act.

See CDT’s comparison charts of the 2014 and 2015 versions of the bill.

Read Harley Geiger’s Lawfare post debunking myths about the USA FREEDOM Act.