The new version of the USA Freedom Act is a step in the right direction
As expected, Senator Patrick Leahy recently introduced a new Senate version of the USA Freedom Act. This version of the bill was negotiated heavily by the White House and Senate and will block a number of activities by the NSA. A coalition of Apple, Facebook, Google and other major tech companies released a statement claiming that this bill would “help restore trust in the Internet by ending the government’s bulk Internet metadata collection and increasing transparency around U.S. surveillance practices.”
Unfortunately, there are a number of loopholes that continue giving the NSA access to significant amounts of data and information on American citizens. For example, the Director of the National Intelligence is exempt from data reporting that “cannot be determined accurately” and surveillance beyond the bulk collection of phone records while targeting foreigners is not mentioned in the bill.
Some of the good parts of the bill include:
- The NSA needing full Senate and House approval for a number of domestic surveillance activities.
- Allowing companies t0 release additional details that the government is requesting from them.
As TechDirt notes, Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall have released a statement stating that they will try to strengthen the bill by adding an amendment which would close a number of so-called “loopholes” which could be used by the entire intelligence community to spy on Americans.