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What is the USA Freedom Act ?

USA Freedom Act

Patriot act expires as senate voted 338 Votes against 88 senate vote, the USA Freedom Act is a bill that would establish a limitation of the NSA surveillance powers, the US National Security Agency, in exchange for an extension of certain provisions the Patriot Act, the key text adopted in the United States after the attacks of Sept. 11, which gives very broad powers to organizations fighting against terrorism. On the night of May 31, the Senate has failed, due to a technical delay, to vote on the text – it should vote in the week.

But this delay was a direct consequence: the NSA can collect telephone metadata (the information surrounding a call or SMS: Recipient, call time, location …) Americans to favor a provision which is expired on the night of May 31 Since June 1, the US agency can no longer proceed with the mass gathering, except for investigations that began before Monday.

Based on Section 215 of the Patriot Act the government can request and obtain from a secret court says “FISA” a term requiring phone companies to provide them all the telephone metadata of their American customers.

Recently, a court ruled that Section 215, which is just expired last night was not a sufficient legal basis for such a request. If passed, the USA Freedom Act will end this massive collection, automatic and indiscriminate.
Instead, metadata remain stored in the telephone operators and the authorities could seek to have access piecemeal.
The authorities retain the possibility to be providing metadata in real time, but according to “specific criteria” related to terrorism, targeting individuals, accounts or single terminal. The authorities should justify why a link “reasonable and detailed” with terrorism (except in emergencies).

The law also provides a small reform of the FISA Court, in particular by allowing it to appoint five outsiders for help, if necessary to decide on new interpretations of the law. The defense is not represented in this court. The intelligence director has to decide on the possible declassification of any decision containing a new interpretation of the law, including “specific criteria”.

Sidra Sajid
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