It’s so bad now that half of the bill’s co-sponsors voted against it.
Now pro-surveillance advocates are moving to advance it with great speed in the Senate. Senator Feinstein is holding a hearing on the bill in the intelligence committee today, and you need to let your Senators know that they must only support true surveillance reform– not watered-down bills like the current version of the Freedom Act.
The version that passed the House has been appropriately termed the “Freedumb” Act by FDL alum Marcy Wheeler, and tech companies, advocacy groups and several members of Congress who once backed the bill are now actively opposing it’s passage in the Senate.
Significant changes to the USA FREEDOM Act include a modified definition of the term “specific selection term,” which was the key to the bill’s proposal to end bulk collection. The new definition offers a non-exclusive list of appropriate selectors, including a “person, entity, accounts, address, or device.” The initial definition limited the term to that which uniquely described a “person, entity, or account.” The new version also substantially weakens the corporate transparency provisions and still does not require the destruction of information incorrectly obtained under FISA Section 702. Other changes further move the bill in the wrong direction.
Perhaps tellingly, the White House has thrown its weight behind the passage of the new “Freedumb” act, and other surveillance advocates in government are championing this faux reform. But on the one year anniversary of the Edward Snowden disclosures that kicked off this entire movement, we should not show our gratitude by letting the NSA get away with – and continue – mass spying.