After Section 215 of the Patriot Act expires temporarily, the Senate passes the USA Freedom Act by 67-32. The legislation attempts to end the bulk collection of calling records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act by limiting collection to instances where there is "reasonable, articulable suspicion" that a "specific selection term" used to request call detail records is associated with international terrorism. Under the USA Freedom Act, the government must use a specific selection term, which represents an "individual, account, or personal device." It also creates an amicus position in the FISA Court which is meant to T advocate for the protection of civil liberties and privacy, educate the court on intelligence collection or communications technologies, and answer any questions the court may have. The legislation also directs the government to declassify “significant” FISA Court opinions and defines “significant” to include any novel interpretation of “specific selection term” or other novel construction of law. In addition to these improvements, the legislation is critiqued for extending the maximum sentence for material support charges and not addressing the rights of non-U.S. persons. However, the passage of USA Freedom also marks the first time in over thirty years that both houses of Congress approved a bill placing restrictions and oversight on the National Security Agency’s surveillance powers.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015 (All day)