USA FREEDOM Act: One Step Forward?

Some privacy advocates are promoting the compromised USA FREEDOM Act as a step in the right direction.

But it seems more like the 80's country song by the Desert Rose Band when they sang,

One step forward and two steps back
Nobody gets too far like that

This morning, Bloomberg writes of the misnamed USA FREEDOM Act:

The bill is the only piece of legislation curbing NSA powers that Congress has been able to advance two years since the Snowden revelations. Under it, the NSA could still collect Internet Protocol addresses used by thousands of people from companies like Google Inc. or Yahoo! Inc., records of international money transfers and information about all guests staying at the same hotel.

The article notes the bill does modify how the telephony metadata program works, so rather than ending the program outright, it really just ends the program as we know it.

Instead, the NSA would have to obtain a warrant from a court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to obtain individual phone records held by telecommunication companies.

On the other hand, this bill is also not what its surveillance hawks critics make it out to be, like the Wall Street Journal editorial board.

The USA Freedom Act, which the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees negotiated with the White House, is a panicky political response to the Edward Snowden-inspired frenzy over surveillance.

"Panicky political response"? Surely they jest.

The USA FREEDOM Act is the careful byproduct of lengthy negotiations over the past two years between the White House, the NSA, and the House Intel and Judiciary Committees. It's key "reform" was proposed by Gen. Keith Alexander (then-NSA Director) in 2013 as a way for President Obama to undercut any real efforts to end the surveillance state that's been slowly being built around Americans since 9/11.

That's precisely why this bill is devoid of any significant changes. 

It's because the USA FREEDOM Act fails to significantly curtail the surveillance state that Campaign for Liberty strongly encourages senators to oppose its passage.

The fleeting promise of "reform" is simply being used as an excuse to extend expiring "Patriot" Act provisions until 2019.

Rather than pass the USA FREEDOM Act, a long, or a short-term extension of the "Patriot" Act, these three provisions should be allowed to expire outright on June 1.

Otherwise, it's back to the Desert Rose Band:

One step forward and two steps back
This kind of dance can never last

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