There may finally be a passable piece of legislation in Congress to end the National Service Agency’s bulk metadata collection program as well as add some much-needed oversight to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
After working with the White House on compromise language, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) rolled out legislation — a new USA FREEDOM Act — today that would protect Americans’ civil liberties from the NSA’s spying programs:
Leahy’s bill would prevent the possibility of that broad collection by requiring agents use specific terms in their searches.
It also requires the government to disclose the number of people caught up in its searches, declare how many of them were Americans and provides more ways for tech companies to report the number of government requests for information they receive, which firms have said is critical to restoring people’s trust in their products.
Finally, Leahy’s bill would also add a panel of special civil liberties advocates to the secretive court overseeing intelligence operations, which currently only hears arguments from the government.
In announcing the bill, Leahy trumpeted support from tech companies including Apple and Google, which have teamed up with other tech giants in the Reform Government Surveillance coalition, as well as privacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy and Technology.