WASHINGTON D.C. — Today, the Senate passed the USA FREEDOM Act by a vote of 67-32. The bill ends all bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records — not only under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, which sunset at midnight Sunday, but also under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s (FISA) pen/trap provisions and National Security Letters. The bill also makes key reforms to the processes of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), declassifies all significant FISC opinions, and allows greater transparency on the scale of surveillance.
“By passing the USA FREEDOM Act, the Senate has restored legitimate intelligence capabilities while putting an end to needless domestic dragnet data collection,” said Berin Szoka, President of TechFreedom. “While the Section 215 sunset was a symbolic victory for privacy, it would have allowed bulk collection to continue under other authorities, such as the FISA pen/trap statute and National Security Letters.”
“Congress should now work to address the mess of surveillance and privacy intrusions at all levels of government — not just for intelligence agencies, but for law enforcement, too,” continued Szoka. “It should start by putting an end to warrantless searches of Americans’ emails by police — a reform supported by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of the House.”
- “Senate Refuses to Poison the USA FREEDOM Act,” a statement from TechFreedom
- Coalition letter opposing data retention mandates on the private sector
- “McConnell is Playing a Dangerous Game with the PATRIOT Act,” a statement from TechFreedom
- “The Senate Should Move Quickly on Surveillance Reform,” a statement from TechFreedom
- Coalition letter urging Senator McConnell Not to Fast-Track the PATRIOT Act