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Government United States Politics

White House Pressures Legislators Into Gutting USA FREEDOM Act 284

The U.S. House of Representatives has substantially reduced the effectiveness of the USA FREEDOM Act, a surveillance reform bill that sought to end mass collection of U.S. citizens' data. House Leadership was pressured by the Obama Administration to weaken many of the bill's provisions. The EFF and the Center for Democracy & Technology had both given their backing to the bill earlier this month, but they've now withdrawn their support. CDT Senior Counsel Harley Geiger said, "The Leadership of the House is demonstrating that it wants to end the debate about surveillance, rather than end bulk collection. As amended, the bill may not prevent collection of data on a very large scale in a manner that infringes upon the privacy of Americans with no connection to a crime or terrorism. This is quite disappointing given the consensus by the public, Congress, the President, and two independent review groups that ending bulk collection is necessary."

Robyn Greene of the Open Technology Institute added, "We are especially disappointed by the weakening of the language intended to prohibit bulk collection of innocent Americans’ records. Although we are still hopeful that the bill’s language will end the bulk collection of telephone records and prevent indiscriminate collection of other types of records, it may still allow data collection on a dangerously massive scale. Put another way, it may ban ‘bulk’ collection of all records of a particular kind, but still allow for ‘bulky’ collection impacting the privacy of millions of people. Before this bill becomes law, Congress must make clear—either through amendments to the bill, through statements in the legislative record, or both—that mass collection of innocent people’s records isn’t allowed."
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White House Pressures Legislators Into Gutting USA FREEDOM Act

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @02:45PM (#47058615)

    ...or rise up.

    Normal channels aren't working, but things aren't 'bad enough' for a sufficient number of people to do anything (yet).

    I hope I get to see a peaceful revolution in my lifetime.

  • by Jeff Flanagan ( 2981883 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @03:44PM (#47059297)
    No, his is correct. Republicans used to be a lot more sane than they are now. And Democrats are more sane than they used to be. Both parties moved to the right, and the Republicans went so far right as to be unrecognizable as the party of Lincoln, or even Eisenhower.

    Oddly, many of the more conservative Republicans still claim to be the party of Lincoln, when really they're confederates who want to break up the US because our president isn't 100% white. They think they can take credit for Lincoln, as if the conservative takeover of the party didn't drive every progressive like Lincoln out.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson