The House voted 338-88 to pass the U.S.A. Freedom Act which effectively ends the bulk telephone data collection program operated by the NSA.
The controversial NSA spying program first came to public attention in 2013 when it was revealed by whistleblower and former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The program was declared illegal last week by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
“We find that the program exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized,” said Judge Gerard Lynch, who spoke on behalf of the court.
The Freedom Act now moves onto the Senate where it faces opposition from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-KY), but the overwhelming support it received in the House might put pressure on him to get the bill passed.
McConnell has stated that he would rather see Section 215 of the Patriot Act extended and if the Freedom Act is passed its legislation would replace that of Section 215.
“The USA Freedom Act would replace Section 215 with an untested, untried, and more cumbersome system. It would not end bulk collection of call data,” McConnell said. “It switches this responsibility from the NSA, with total oversight, to corporate employees with uncertain supervision and protocols.”
Senator Marco Rubio (R.-FL) has also stated his opposition to the ending of the NSA spying program.
“Despite recent court rulings, this program has not been found unconstitutional, and the courts have not ordered a halt to the program,” said Rubio.
Rubio also said that “today our nation faces a greater threat of terrorist attack than any time since Sept. 11, 2001.” Using an appeal to fear to justify the infringement of rights of American citizens to privacy.[The Guardian][Wired]