Legislation has been proposed that would seriously curtail the widespread collection of metadata by the National Security Agency.
The bill, which has bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, will also require more visibility into the process behind secret court oversight provisions that govern NSA’s data collection activities.
“The bipartisan, bicameral USA FREEDOM Act will rein in the dragnet collection of data by the National Security Agency (NSA), increase the transparency of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) decision-making, provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests, create an independent advocate to argue cases before the FISA Court, and impose new and shorter sunsets on controversial surveillance authorities,” the bill states.
The proposed legislation would reverse some of the more controversial interpretation of the Patriot Act which was passed after the 9/11 attacks, and which allowed for sweeping data collection operations with little or no evidence that the targets had any ties to terrorist activities.
“Somewhere along the way, the balance between security and privacy was lost,” said Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, co-sponsor of the bill and principle supporter of the Patriot Act.
The bill would end bulk collection of U.S. citizen’s communications records, reform the FISA Court’s authority, and increase transparency through better oversight.
“It is time for serious and meaningful reforms so we can restore confidence in our intelligence community,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, one of the bill’s chief sponsors.
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