U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy is set to announce a bill that will diminish the expansive surveillance of Americans’ call metadata. The senate bill will also renovate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to allow for opposing voices against the government’s arguments, and to obligate public disclosure of information about any decisions made by the court.
The new version of the USA Freedom Act (UFA) will be more potent than the one passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year. The bill was notoriously hurried, and weakened to such a state that approximately half of its initial co-sponsors voted against it.
The proposed bill won’t be shutting down the heavily-criticized “backdoor” searches – such as those performed by United States intelligence agencies – of Americans’ communications.
What the bill will do is put a stop to the telephony metadata program. Of course, what is truly important is how effective it is at ending the gathering of data related to American citizens’ communications. The NSA, after all, has a broad range of surveillance tools, from using PRISM to force information from Internet companies, to tapping the fiber cables that make up the Internet itself.
The extent of the impact the bill will have on the NSA and its activities remains to be seen.