House of Representatives votes to end bulk collection of phone records
Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 01:42
May 22 - U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passes bill to change rules for NSA phone record collection. Vanessa Johnston reports.
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The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to end the government's bulk collection of telephone records.
The so-called "USA Freedom Act" is the first legislative effort at surveillance reform since former contractor Edward Snowden disclosed the program a year ago.
Some lawmakers argue the NSA program is legal and an essential tool for the intelligence community.
Others say it is a violation of Americans' right to privacy under the U.S. Constitution.
SOUNDBITE (English) REP. JIM SENSENBRENNER, WISCONSIN REPUBLICAN SAYING:
"Let me be clear, I wish this bill did more. To my colleagues who will lament the changes, I agree with you. The privacy groups who are upset about lost revisions, I share your disappointment. The negotiations for this bill were intense. We have to make compromises. But this bill still does deserve support. Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good."
SOUNDBITE (English) REP. RUSH HOLT, NEW JERSEY DEMOCRAT SAYING:
"But it still falls woefully short. This legislation still allows the government to collect everything they want against Americans: to treat Americans as suspects first and citizens second."
The bill would end the government practice of gathering information on calls made by millions of Americans and storing them for at least five years.
Instead, it would leave the records with telephone companies for 18 months and the NSA could file a judicial order to collect them for security investigations.
The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
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