Friday, June 20, 2014

House Passes Landmark Amendment To Stop Warrantless NSA Searches

Matt Sledge, HuffPost
Posted: 06/19/2014 11:53

The House overwhelmingly approved an amendment Thursday meant to block the National Security Agency from performing warrantless searches on Americans' communications, rejecting one of the most controversial forms of NSA surveillance revealed by the leaks of Edward Snowden.

The 293-123 vote on an amendment to the annual defense appropriations bill was a victory for civil libertarians on the heels of a gutted NSA reform measure the House approved in May. The amendment still faces an uncertain journey through Congress before it can become law.

"I think people are waking up to what's been going on," said the amendment's sponsor, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.). "Whether you're Republican or Democrat -- because, if you noticed, a majority of Republicans voted for this, as well as a majority of Democrats."

The NSA performs so-called back door searches on the content of Americans' communications without a warrant when they have been in contact with targeted foreigners. Given the vastness of the NSA's target database, and the irrelevance of international boundaries in the Internet age, privacy advocates say they worry an expanding number of Americans' emails and phone calls are being swept up. The House amendment specifically prohibits the NSA from using information identifying U.S. citizens to search communications data it collects under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

(More here.)

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