PATRIOT Act –> Freedom Act
While on Monday many Americans cheered for what they thought to be a huge victory against NSA surveillance of personal information, the House and the Senate quickly passed a bill that will restore key provisions of the PATRIOT Act that expired on Monday. The Freedom Act, which passed in the Senate with a 67-32 vote, is expected to be promptly signed into law by President Obama.
The new bill, however, greatly modifies the data collection that was legal under the PATRIOT Act. After this practice was deemed unconstitutional, many lawmakers have been looking to a different way to prevent terrorism without sacrificing American liberty. The Freedom Act had a lot of bipartisan support when it passed in the House on May 13th, and quickly passed with the needed majority vote in the Senate today. This new bill was also in response the Edward Snowden’s information that the NSA was storing amount of information from millions of Americans. America responded, and so did their lawmakers. From this, the Freedom Act will prohibit mass collection of personal information.
The Freedom Act, which was originally introduced in 2013, needed to pass from those who originally opposed it due to the expiration of the PATRIOT Act. For these reasons, Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster and dedication to ensuring the law’s expiration really laid the backdrop for the Freedom Act to finally push through. While there will still be surveillance, it is a step in protecting Americans privacy through preventing data collection.
While the Freedom Act does not completely eliminate the NSA surveillance methods, it is a step in the right direction. With so much media attention and critique over the PATRIOT Act, the American people are more aware now of any infringements on their rights, and it can be expected there will be more bills to limit the NSA authority.