Congress Passes USA Freedoms Act

By Thomas Lodico

Congress met for a session based on the reforms made to The Patriot Act and they passed the USA Freedom Act in both chambers of Congress. What this bill is meant to do is renovate how government intelligence is able to collect data on its citizens. What the bill does is stop the bulk data collection of phone records and curtails certain programs used by the United States government, most notably the NSA with the bulk collection of phone metadata.

What this bill aims to do is to provide some relief to the American people based on the information given by Edward Snowden, who is most famous for being a whistleblower on the NSA bulk data collection of Americans’ internet history, phone texts and calls. It also gives companies such as Google, Yahoo and Facebook the ability to disclose certain information on government requested materials used on their sites. For many, this is seen as a win for privacy rights.

Others, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, saw the passage of such a bill as a setback for American intelligence. This is seen as a major loss for McConnell, who tried to weaken the NSA reform bill with 12 amendments that all failed in the Senate. This was also seen as a loss for Senator Rand Paul who is currently running for the Republican nomination for President. Paul, a self-described libertarian, saw that the continuation of any program under the current bill is a loss to the civil rights of all American citizens and did not believe that the bill went far enough. Instead, Paul believed that the bill should have ended all spying and data collection on American citizens. Paul pushed for a law where the law and the Constitution would protect the privacy of citizens. With the limited continuation of Prism, the program that collects data on American citizens, this is seen as a set back in the libertarian’s plans.
So, at the end of the day what does this mean for most Americans? No drastic change in their day to day life will come. The continued effort by the American government to collect data will be a problem. This is seen to some as a problem dealing with their 4th Amendment rights and their efforts to stop government collection of personal data. This law does help to reform the current law but there are further efforts to go until Americans can feel as that big brother is no longer watching them.