3 Jun, 2015
The US Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that would end the bulk collection of millions of Americans’ phone records, the most significant surveillance reform for decades and a direct result of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations to the Guardian two years ago.
Senators voted 67-32 to pass the USA Freedom Act, which overwhelmingly cleared the House of Representatives last month and will now head to the White House for Barack Obama’s signature. The president praised the bill’s passage and said he would “work expeditiously to ensure our national security professionals again have the full set of vital tools they need to continue protecting the country”.
The passage of the USA Freedom Act paves the way for telecom companies to assume responsibility of the controversial phone records collection program, while also bringing to a close a short lapse in the broad NSA and FBI domestic spying authorities. Those powers expired with key provisions of the Patriot Act at 12.01am on Monday amid a showdown between defense hawks and civil liberties advocates.