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article imageNew legislation to curb NSA proposed by Patriot Act author

By Justin King     Oct 10, 2013 in World
Legislation proposed by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-OH), who helped build the controversial Patriot Act, is aiming to tighten restrictions on domestic spying conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA).
The NSA, which has been operating without oversight since the federal shutdown, caused headlines after Edward Snowden released thousands of documents about the NSA’s domestic spying programs and capabilities. One of the authors of the legislation that has been used to legitimatize the activities says that it is time to shutdown the NSA’s metadata program. Sensenbrenner calls his bill the USA Freedom Act, an acronym for Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-Collection, and Online Monitoring Act.
The bill addresses four main concerns: to limit phone surveillance to known terrorist suspects, to force the secret courts established by the FISA Act to disclose their policies, to allow companies a limited ability to discuss how many requests they receive, and to create a special advocate for privacy within the system.
Section 215 of the Sensenbrenner’s own Patriot Act is in the crosshairs of the bill. The section has been given a very wide interpretation in the past by courts, but the new bill establishes a three point criteria before a person can become the subject of domestic surveillance as Sensenbrenner explained
Having the three qualifications would make it very clear that they have to find out who a bad person is first, get the FISA order, and then see who that bad person was contacting to get the information rather than find the needle in a very large haystack, which is what the metadata was…
The Representative doesn’t expect an easy win for his new bill.
I anticipate a big fight, and Senator Feinstein has already basically declared war… If they use a law like Senator Feinstein is proposing, it will just allow them to do business as usual with a little bit of a change in the optics.
Feinstein has been a supporter of increased oversight, but the panel established to review the NSA was shut itself down almost a week prior to the deadline to deliver their final report.
More about Nsa, Patriot act, Fisa, Domestic spying
 
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