Congress Stops NSAs Collecting Phone Records

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The US Congress has proposed an act that would repeal the National Security Agency’s (NSA's) authority to access basic business records and the phone records of American citizens.

The bill, Ending Mass Collection of Americans’ Phone Records Act, is intended to “repeal the authority to access on an ongoing basis business records for foreign intelligence and international terrorism investigations, and for other purposes.”  

Introduced Thursday, the act establishes several amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and has bipartisan support, according to The Hill. The changes not only permanently end the phone record collection policies but negate the federal government’s ability to restart its currently shuttered call-detail records program.

The government would no longer have the authority “to apply for an order requiring the production of metadata on an ongoing basis of any tangible things or of any tangible things other than those identified by the specific selections terms included in the application.”

The 2015 USA Freedom Act allowed the government to collect phone call metadata for the purposes of foreign intelligence and international terrorism investigations and for criminal or other purposes.

In the case of an application for call detail records, the new act requires the government “to adopt minimization procedures that require the prompt destruction of all call detail records produced under the order that the government determines are not foreign intelligence information.”

Sen. Rand Paul, who has long been a critic of the program, told the Washington Times, “The federal government’s appalling violations of our Fourth Amendment rights must end.

“This bill permanently stops one of the sprawling surveillance state’s most intrusive overreaches and is the first step in a movement to reclaim the constitutional liberties sacrificed by the overreaching provisions of the PATRIOT Act.”

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