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    Newsweek: New Bill Takes Aim at NSA’s Bulk Phone Data Collection

    Newsweek reports on a new bill from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, that seeks to reform the National Security Agency’s controversial bulk telephone data collection surveillance program, which was revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. (In related news, the ACLU and HRW have released a report on how NSA surveillance programs harm journalism, “With Liberty to Monitor All: How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law, and American Democracy.” Also, the Open Technology Institute has released a report on the cost of the NSA surveillance program, “Surveillance Costs: The NSA’s Impact on the Economy, Internet Freedom & Cybersecurity.”)

    Newsweek reports:

    Earlier today, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Chairman of the SenateJudiciary Committee, introduced a bill aimed at reining in some of the NSA’s most controversial digital surveillance practices including the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records. […]

    The USA Freedom Act of 2014 is a revised version of the USA Freedom Act legislation that, back in October, was introduced in the Senate by Leahy and in the House by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.). A weaker version of the bill ultimately passed in the House back in May. Leahy, meanwhile, has been working with Congress and the White House to develop a stronger version in the Senate. The result has the support of the administration and, according to Leahy’s press office, “a wide range of privacy and civil liberties groups.” […]

    One of the most controversial aspects of the NSA’s surveillance has been the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records—information such as where and when a call was made. The collection of this metadata has been justified by Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. But in the past year, both the president’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board have concluded 215 did not provide adequate justification.

    Read the full article for more information. Also, the Center for Democracy and Technology has released a comparison of Leahy’s bill with a version that passed the House.

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