Congress Votes to limit the NSA

In June, the U.S. Congress rejected some of the mass intelligence-gathering powers of the NSA. The bill, known as the USA Freedom Act, most significantly ends the bulk collection of the private telephone records of U.S. citizens.

The Act is the first legislative response to the 2013 disclosures of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The ability of the NSA to target online communications remains in place, but the collection telephone metadata had allowed the security agency to monitor the “who called who” of the entire American public. It remains to be seen whether the NSA’s reach will be further restricted as a result of Snowden’s leaks.

The Republican party was divided on the bill, which split the vote between the values of security and privacy. Critics say the bill would do little to protect privacy anyway when telecom companies already posses this data.

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