House passes bill limiting NSA’s collection of phone records

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The House on Thursday voted 303-121 to pass the USA Freedom Act that curtail the National Security Agency’s power to collect bulk surveillance data and other reforms.

Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said the H.R. 3361 sponsored by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) denies NSA access to surveillance data without a court decision.

The bill allows the agency to obtain only the calling records of people up to two links from a suspect, a change President Obama has endorsed.

The government will have to get an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees NSA spying, compelling phone carriers to search the records for counterterrorism investigations instead of the agency collecting records, including numbers dialed and call durations, and storing them for years.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has pledged to take it up this summer. Leahy, authored a Senate version of the bill.

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