It didn’t take long for the US Senate to set the NSA’s sights on your selfies.
The American people’s life without the NSA’s prying eyes thanks to the PATRIOT Act’s section 215 expiration on Monday was short-lived. After just one day, the Senate passed the USA FREEDOM act, which “ends bulk data collection as we know it,” but in no way reduces the amount of data collected.
The bill was promptly signed by President Obama hours later.
The USA FREEDOM Act is simply a transferal of spying duties over to phone companies and data providers. Essentially, what the bill accomplishes is a privatization of the NSA’s domestic spying program, bringing up new concerns to the state of privacy in the US. It does place new roadblocks on the NSA’s spying powers through technicalities, but is far from an overarching reform to the surveillance state.
As we noted yesterday, despite the media’s misinformation on the USA FREEDOM Act, it actually continues warrant-less spying by the NSA, except their Big Data partners will be doing the manual labor. The USA FREEDOM Act will expand the amount of data that the NSA and other spy agencies have access to since phone companies collect large, diverse quantities of data from users.
The FBI recently admitted that spying powers under section 215 of the PATRIOT Act didn’t prevent a single terrorist act.
“The agents we interviewed did not identify any major case developments that resulted from use of the records obtained in response to Section 215 orders.” said US Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz.
This admission comes as the 2nd Circuit Appeals Court ruled the NSA’s domestic spying under section 215 of the PATRIOT Act was illegal.
Apparently, the Senate doesn’t care about the constitutional illegality of domestic spying nor the effectiveness of said programs.
Congressman Justin Amash, a prominent critic of the bill, stated,
“H.R. 2048 (USA FREEDOM Act) falls woefully short of reining in the mass collection of Americans’ data, and it takes us a step in the wrong direction by specifically authorizing such collection in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.”
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