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New NSA reform bill fails in the Senate

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Zach McAuliffe
Zach McAuliffe is a University of Dayton alumni with degrees in journalism and English. He wants to present people with all the facts they need to make informed decisions on the world around them. He also enjoys Shakespeare and long walks on the beach with his puppy Lily.

The USA Freedom Act, a bill which calls for the NSA to halt all collection of phone data from millions of Americans who are not suspects in any crime, has failed to pass in the Senate.

When Edward Snowden brought the NSA’s phone data collection to light over a year ago, many people, both Republican and Democrat, were upset with the NSA’s tactics.  Many wanted to change the collection methods, saying the NSA was acting in a Big Brother way.

The bill was not only going to reform the way the NSA collected phone metadata, but according to the Verge, the bill would have also brought changes to “how the government managed national security letters and internet surveillance.”

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Various tech companies who supported the bill, such as Apple, Facebook, and Google, were strongly in support of the bill saying, according to the Inquirer, the bill “protects national security and reaffirms America’s commitment to the freedoms we all cherish.”

After the vote, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, another supporter of the bill, said, “We are disappointed that the Senate has failed to advance the US Freedom Act… We strongly oppose any amendment that would water down the strong privacy, special advocate, and transparency provisions of the bill.”

Laura Murphy, the director of the ACLU in Washington said, according to the Guardian, “Though this vote is a setback, it will not stop the push for reform.”

Many people who voted against the bill say they are afraid of a domestic terrorist attack thanks in part to the rise of ISIS in the Middle East.  However, the NSA themselves have said their phone data collections would not prevent a terrorist attack.

The bill failed by two votes and cannot be discussed openly in the Senate for another year, but many are already expecting the reform bill to be brought back up in that time.  Their reason is in one year, Congress will discuss renewing parts of the Patriot Act.  Until then, the NSA’s phone data collection methods will remain unchanged.

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