Bill to overhaul NSA data collection clears hurdle in US Congress


  • TECH
  • Friday, 09 May 2014

WASHINGTON: A US House of Representatives committee voted unanimously on Wednesday to advance a bill that would end the National Security Agency's bulk collection of Americans' telephone records, one of the most controversial spy programs revealed a year ago by former contractor Edward Snowden. 

The House Judiciary committee voted 32-0 to back the measure, which would end the NSA's gathering information about telephone calls and storing them for at least five years. It would instead leave the records with telephone companies. 

The bill would allow the NSA to collect a person's phone records, and those of two contacts, if investigators can convince a judge they have a reasonable suspicion the person was involved in terrorism. 

The legislation still faces several hurdles before becoming law, including winning the approval of a majority in the full House, as well as backing in the US Senate. It is similar to NSA reforms proposed by President Barack Obama. 

"We applaud the House Judiciary Committee for approaching this issue on a bipartisan basis," White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement. 

"The Judiciary Committee-passed bill is a very good first step in that important effort, and we look forward to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence action on it tomorrow,” the statement added. 

Privacy groups said they were delighted with the support for the bill. "This is a historic turn of events in our government's approach to counterterrorism policies," Laura Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington Legislation Office, said in a statement. 

The House Intelligence Committee will debate and vote on its somewhat less restrictive version of the package on Thursday, which could set up a standoff on the House floor. 

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, applauded the House committee's action, although he said he wished it had gone further, such as including a strong special advocate in the secret court that oversees NSA surveillance programs. 

Signalling that the fight over the surveillance programs was not over, Leahy said in a statement he would push for those reforms when his committee considers the legislation, known as the USA Freedom Act, this summer. — Reuters 

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Next In Tech News

Chat app Discord to test ticketing, make audio events easier to find
Google wins cloud deal from SpaceX for Starlink internet service
Amazon to hire 75,000 workers, offers $100 extra for vaccination proof
Ford redesigning parts to use more accessible chips, weighing direct deals with chip foundries
Renewables evolution or revolution? Pace of tech investments will decide
Exclusive: Crypto crime down in 2021 through April, but 'DeFi' fraud at record -CipherTrace
Musk decries bitcoin's 'insane' energy use after Tesla payment U-turn
Anti-monopoly fine pushes Alibaba to first operating loss as public company
Foreign IT firms must open offices in Russia under new draft law - lawmaker
Analysis: In Apple vs Epic Games, battle of the experts gets personal

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers