In Landslide Vote, House Overwhelmingly Passes USA Freedom Act without Amendments

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EFF.orgIs this the year Con­gress pass­es a bill to lim­it NSA spy­ing? The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives cer­tain­ly hopes so. But just how strong that reform will be remains to be seen.

Min­utes ago, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives passed the USA Free­dom Act over­whelm­ing­ly with 338 yes votes and 88 no votes. EFF is neu­tral on the bill. We believe the House missed an oppor­tu­ni­ty to strength­en the bill in light of the recent Sec­ond Cir­cuit deci­sion. We’re urg­ing the Sen­ate to take steps to strength­en the bill.

The bill is now sent over to the Sen­ate, where all eyes will be watch­ing. The Sen­ate is expect­ed to take up the USA Free­dom Act any­time in the next two weeks, and is like­ly to vote on it by May 22. The Sen­ate is unique­ly posi­tioned to improve the civ­il lib­er­ties pro­tec­tions in the USA Free­dom Act by adding addi­tion­al trans­paren­cy and over­sight pro­vi­sions, adding stronger lim­i­ta­tions on the col­lec­tion of data on inno­cent peo­ple, and throw­ing out some of the recent­ly-added pro­vi­sions to the bill that were includ­ed at the behest of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty. Check out our detailed dis­cus­sion of what could be improved in the bill, and why a recent Sec­ond Cir­cuit Court rul­ing sets the stage for stronger sur­veil­lance reforms.

2015 can and should be the year for pow­er­ful sur­veil­lance reform, and we’re urg­ing the Sen­ate to rise to this oppor­tu­ni­ty.

How­ev­er, even as the USA Free­dom Act moves ahead, there are those with­in Con­gress who are seek­ing a rub­ber-stamp reau­tho­riza­tion of Patri­ot Act spy­ing author­i­ties. They’re try­ing to extend the mass sur­veil­lance of mil­lions of phone records of law-abid­ing cit­i­zens for anoth­er 5 years. Join us in telling Con­gress that we need real sur­veil­lance reform—not anoth­er rub­ber stamp.

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