Senate Approves USA Freedom Act

The Senate has approved the USA Freedom Act. Already passed by the House, it will now go to President Obama for signing.

The USA Freedom Act, a bill that would end the National Security Agency’s practice of collecting troves of call data from telephone companies, passed on a 67 to 32 vote. It would instead mandate a six-month transition to a system in which the data would remain in private hands but could be searched on a case-by-case basis under a court order.

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    USA Freedom Act (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Tue Jun 02, 2015 at 07:06:02 PM EST
    What a crock. A true USA Freedom Act would abolish all of the assaults against the Constitution that were enacted after 9-11.

    If only this was about freedom. (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 02, 2015 at 07:27:42 PM EST
    Instead, it joins the ranks of the Healthy Forests Initiative, the Clear Skies Initiative, and others that have titles that camouflage the true intent of the legislation.

    And I'm gobsmacked by the news that the FBI's been flying planes at low altitudes with video and cell phone surveillance capability.

    How is any of this legal?

    And clearly, our FBI has become an agency ... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jun 02, 2015 at 07:51:07 PM EST
    ... with not only too much money, but also too many personnel with too much time on their hands. Setting aside the very real issue of the program's legality for the moment, from a more practical standpoint, how can any of this low-level / low-brow surveillance possibly be effective? It's like they're literally trolling for dumb luck, which I consider to be an appalling waste of financial and human resources. This is what happens when you throw money at a problem.

    Not just the FBI (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Zorba on Wed Jun 03, 2015 at 11:52:15 AM EST
    Clearly, the NSA also has too much money and too many personnel.
    Not to mention the DEA.....
    Why, when some conservatives talk about cutting the budget and  downsizing the government, they always talk about getting rid of HHS, Housing and Urban Development, the Education Department, and cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, but they never talk about downsizing the FBI, NSA, or DEA?  Or not forcing the Pentagon to continue purchasing and maintaining tanks, ships, and planes that the Pentagon has said they neither want nor need.  That would save quite a bit, but they don't want to do that, either.

    George Orwell (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Zorba on Wed Jun 03, 2015 at 10:03:04 AM EST
    would be proud.  Or, at least, Big Brother would be.
    "War is peace.  Freedom is slavery.  Ignorance is strength."

    Yesterday (none / 0) (#11)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jun 02, 2015 at 07:36:45 PM EST
    after reading about the low flying planes I was watching the excellent 2005 movie V for Vendetta with the trucks driving around listening to phone conversations.

    I had to laugh.  Amatures, I thought.


    Congress Needs Oversight for the... (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jun 03, 2015 at 08:54:20 AM EST
    ...aholes naming legislation.  

    If McDonald's called their new deep fried cheese, 'The healthiest food your kids can eat", they would get sued left and right, but no problem with Congress labeling a bill curtailing freedom, the 'USA Freedom Act'.

    Is it better (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jun 02, 2015 at 04:46:53 PM EST
    that it is in private hands?

    Call me cynical, or crazy, (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by caseyOR on Tue Jun 02, 2015 at 07:56:11 PM EST
    but I do not believe there is any chance that the NSA will stop collecting this information. No chance at all.

    Now, will the NSA ask for subpeonas to get info from the phone companies, info the NSA already has, well, yes, they will if public appearances are important. And will the NSA lie about continuing to collect this data? why, yes, yes they will.

    But shut down their own data collecting? no way.


    I completely agree (none / 0) (#14)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jun 02, 2015 at 08:29:01 PM EST
    Me Too... (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jun 03, 2015 at 08:48:05 AM EST
    ...as far as I can tell, no one even is told to go home for the day when the NSA has been caught doing bad deeds.

    Weren't they already caught doing this exact thing, illegally ?

    And why six months, to get the new and improved illegal collection systems up and running.  I would love to know why they cannot stop now.

    Snowden still sits in Russia as the bad guy, even though Congress concurs with his assessment of the this program.


    by private hands (none / 0) (#2)
    by CST on Tue Jun 02, 2015 at 04:51:08 PM EST
    I'm assuming they mean the telephone companies who have the information to begin with.  But I could be mistaken.

    They do (none / 0) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Tue Jun 02, 2015 at 04:58:20 PM EST
    why is that better is the question.

    Ah (none / 0) (#4)
    by CST on Tue Jun 02, 2015 at 05:07:32 PM EST
    Presumably because you signed something when you got a cellphone, and they don't have the power to arrest you or use it against you the same way that the Government does.

    Also, I imagine it helps with things like billing disputes, and other legitimate business practices.


    Private hands, I might add, which ... (none / 0) (#5)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jun 02, 2015 at 05:16:54 PM EST
    ... are subject to subpoena by a FISA court system that's thus far played the dutiful role of rubber stamp to FBI, CIA and DOD interests.

    The concept of "national security" has been so egregiously abused by federal personnel since 9/11, that I'd feel much better if we just got rid of the FISA courts altogether, and once again granted to our federal judiciary the necessary discretion to determine whether or not such matters should be conducted behind closed doors for the sake of said "national security."



    The phone companies have been collecting (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Farmboy on Wed Jun 03, 2015 at 07:56:35 AM EST
    our phone usage data since the invention of the private phone line nearly a century ago. Legally.

    The courts have said, repeatedly, that the phone data belongs to the phone companies and not to the subscribers. As phone company property that data is theirs to give away or sell, including to the government. No FISA or other warrant needed.

    It is as it ever was. If you don't want the phone company to know who you call or who calls you, and the length of the connection, don't use the phone.


    Or do what (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Zorba on Wed Jun 03, 2015 at 09:58:55 AM EST
    the drug dealers do.  Buy throwaway phones, use them very briefly, ditch them, and get another.
    You notice it's even difficult to use pay phones now?  How many pay phones do you see around lately?  There used to be one on just about every corner.

    And as Ruffian pointed out long ago (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 03, 2015 at 12:15:25 PM EST
    We have all willfully signed up for this.  That part we have done to ourselves.

    I can't remember which pol or NSA talking head was arguing that this won't work a few days back, but he said that some phone companies belong to organized crime so they won't be honest when they receive a warrant from the FISA court.  He refused to name names though.  So some phone companies are owned by elements of organized crime but you and I aren't allowed to know which companies we may be enriching with our fees that are owned by organized crime :)?  How does that work?


    Define We... (none / 0) (#24)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jun 04, 2015 at 10:26:12 AM EST
    ...because it ain't me and many here I would think.

    Come one, the mob owns AT&T or Tmobile, please.  That is the very definition of a conspiracy theory.


    Data is involved (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jun 04, 2015 at 12:37:03 PM EST
    To use a cell phone or computer, the company must process data that you put in.  We all signed the disclaimers that we never read.

    As for the organized crime owned cell phone companies, I guess you didn't read my comment.  That was a statement and pro Patriot Act argument made by someone from the NSA.  When pressed to name these organized crime owned cell companies he refused.  He did bring up Mexican cartels being involved.


    Obviously I Read It... (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jun 04, 2015 at 04:06:35 PM EST
    ...as I commented on it.

    Agree (none / 0) (#6)
    by sj on Tue Jun 02, 2015 at 05:37:50 PM EST
    This looks like a bandaid to me. Still... sometimes you need a bandaid.

    Exactly. (none / 0) (#10)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Tue Jun 02, 2015 at 07:36:32 PM EST
    It's certainly not the best, that's for sure, but it's still better than what existed prior to the Snowden revelations. Patience and an eye for the long game are virtues in politics, and I've always been one who'll accept the half-loaf of bread, with the thought that I'll come back to grab the rest of it when the opportunity arises. Those who insist upon the "all or nothing" approach usually end up with the latter.

    This is how liberty dies (none / 0) (#7)
    by Payaso on Tue Jun 02, 2015 at 05:52:18 PM EST
    "So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause."

    site violator (none / 0) (#29)
    by fishcamp on Mon Aug 31, 2015 at 07:22:24 AM EST

    site violator (none / 0) (#30)
    by fishcamp on Mon Aug 31, 2015 at 07:22:57 AM EST