Obama Signs USA Freedom Act Curbing NSA’s Spy Powers Into Law


The US Senate on Tuesday passed United States’ most significant surveillance reform since 1978 and the first piece of legislation to reform post 9/11 surveillance measures, the USA Freedom Act that would halt the National Security Agency’s dragnet of telephone data from millions of Americans who have no connection to terrorism, in vindication for NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden. The Freedom Act had already passed the House of Representatives. US President Barack Obama, signed the bill into law as soon as he got it.

The bill’s passage was the culmination of efforts to reform the NSA and blossomed out of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s disclosure of the NSA’s bulk data collection two years ago.

The law would shift the storage of the metadata from the NSA to the telephone companies, allowing authorities to access the information only when Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court finds they are relevant to investigations regarding national security and issue a warrant. It will also offer more transparency to the secret proceedings of the FISA court, by appointing a civilian advocate who speaks for the public’s civil liberties interest. It would also re-institute roving wiretaps and lone-wolf tracking, two powers that expired on June 1, when the Senate was unable to get an extension of key national security provisions in the USA Patriot Act.

“This is the most important surveillance reform bill since 1978, and its passage is an indication that Americans are no longer willing to give the intelligence agencies a blank check. Still, no one should mistake this bill for comprehensive reform…The passage of this bill is an indication that comprehensive reform is possible, but it is not comprehensive reform in itself,” said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director at the American Civil liberties Union.

“For the first time since 9/11, Congress has placed significant limits on the government’s ability to spy on Americans. These reforms are important first steps, but that does not mean Congress can wash its hands of these issues and move on,” said Elizabeth Goitein, co-director at the Brennan Center for Justice.

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  1. The freedom act is a joke. An evil man who is so hastily to sign it surely has bad deeds written all over it. Read for the fine print.

  2. I’ll believe it when I see the 1.5 billion “Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cyber security Initiative Data Center” boarded up!


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