Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Second House committee approves bill to end NSA bulk collection

The House Intelligence Committee scraps its own bill in favor of one that privacy advocates say is stronger

Article comments

One day after the U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously to end the National Security Agency's bulk collection of U.S. phone records, a second committee has approved the same bill.

The House Intelligence Committee, in closed session, voted to approve the USA Freedom Act Thursday instead of advancing the committee's own NSA reform bill. Many privacy groups had criticized the Intelligence Committee bill, called the FISA Transparency and Modernization Act, saying it would have made minimal changes to the NSA's mass collection of U.S. telephone records.

Instead, the Intelligence Committee, by voice vote, approved the USA Freedom Act, which would require the NSA to get case-by-case court approval before collecting the telephone or business records of any U.S. resident.

The FISA Transparency and Modernization Act was among a group of NSA bills that did little to fix the problem of bulk collection, Electronic Frontier Foundation activist Nadia Kayyali wrote in a recent blog post. "These bills don't just put lipstick on a pig," she wrote. "They actually create new legal authority for NSA spying while providing political cover to its biggest supporters."

The USA Freedom Act, which now heads to the House floor for a vote, would also limit the controversial bulk collection program by allowing the FBI, asking on behalf of the NSA, to request U.S. phone records from carriers only if there are "reasonable grounds" to believe that the information sought pertains to a foreign power, an agent of a foreign power, or a person in contact with a foreign power.

The House Judiciary Committee approved the USA Freedom Act by a 32-0 vote on Wednesday.

The Intelligence Committee did not consider its own bill during its meeting Thursday, a spokeswoman said. The committee's decision to instead approve the USA Freedom Act allows House leaders to avoid choosing between the bills when scheduling a vote on NSA reforms.

The sponsors of the Intelligence Committee bill, Representatives Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican, and Dutch Ruppersberger, a Maryland Democrat, said they were pleased with the committee's vote on the competing bill.

"Enhancing privacy and civil liberties while protecting the operational capability of a critical counterterrorism tool, not pride of authorship, has always been our first and last priority," they said in a joint statement. "We are pleased the House Judiciary Committee reached a compromise that garnered strong, bipartisan support."

The American Civil Liberties Union applauded the committee's vote. "This vote is a clear sign that the balance is shifting away from excessive NSA spying and back toward liberty," Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office, said in a statement. "The momentum is on the side of privacy rights and limiting government power, and now the full House can pass a bill that rolls back bulk collection of Americans' communications."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.



Share:

More from Techworld

More relevant IT news

Comments



Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *