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Iran Press TV

Senate unveils new NSA reform bill

Iran Press TV

Wed Jul 30, 2014 10:15AM GMT

A US senator introduced a new legislation on Tuesday in order to ban massive collection of Americans' telephone records and Internet data.

Senator Patrick Leahy introduced the revised version of his USA Freedom Act after weeks of negotiations that eventually won White House support for tighter privacy protections.

Leahy along with Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) first sponsored the USA Freedom Act last October, but a version of the bill passed by the House two months ago was criticized by civil liberties and technology groups, which described its privacy provisions as watered-down and inadequate.

The new measure, however, would bring to halt the National Security Agency's surveillance program and impose new transparency requirements on the intelligence community.

"If enacted, this bill would represent the most significant reform of government surveillance authorities since Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act 13 years ago," Leahy said in speech on the Senate floor. "This is an historic opportunity."

In addition, the new proposed bill would compel the government to issue transparency reports on its surveillance activities, provide technology companies with new options to reveal the level of national security orders they get, and strengthen the authority of proposed civil liberties advocates who would be present at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Leahy's bill 'is an improvement on the House-passed version at every step,' said Harley Geiger, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Edward Snowden, former NSA contractor, revealed last year the mass surveillance programs run by the US government both inside and outside the United States, which brought the NSA under severe criticism.


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