Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

NSA Surveillance a Wild Ride in Congress Ends with a Better Law

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

NSA Surveillance a Wild Ride in Congress Ends with a Better Law

Article excerpt

Replacement this week of some provisions of the post-9/11 USA Patriot Act by the new USA Freedom Act will limit government surveillance of bulk data on Americans' phone communications.

The hokey names for both laws belie their sweeping and, many would say, intrusive impact. The new statute was passed Tuesday on a 67-32 vote in the Senate and quickly signed by President Barack Obama. Its predecessor, much of which will continue in its original form, was enacted in the panicked weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Under the reform, the National Security Agency will no longer collect bulk communications made by millions of Americans. The phone companies will hold the metadata - the time a phone call was made, how long it lasted and to whom it was made. The metadata does not have the content of the call. U.S. security agencies will have to request information on individuals and obtain a court order before getting access to the data from the companies. …

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