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house Bill H.R. 3361

Revising Spying: Banning Bulk Data Collection

Argument in favor

A step toward protecting American civil liberties. Limits NSA data mining of existing records. Brings a greater level of transparency to FISA Courts.

Argument opposed

Does not unequivocally ban bulk collection of American records. Does not create a committee for Congressional oversight of surveillance programs. Amended version fails to address NSA surveillance abuses.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Select Committee on Intelligence
  • The house Passed May 22nd, 2014
    Roll Call Vote 303 Yea / 121 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Financial Services
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
    IntroducedOctober 29th, 2013

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    What the Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn’t Do • All the plans purport to end the bulk phone records collection program, but there are big differences. by Kara Brandeisky ProPublica, April 3, 2014, 3:20 p.m. Ten months after Edward Snowden's first disclosures, three main legislative proposals have emerged for surveillance reform: one from President Obama, one from the House Intelligence Committee, and one proposal favored by civil libertarians. All the plans purport to end the bulk phone records collection program, but there are big differences – and a lot they don't do. Here's a rundown. President Obama's proposal What it would do: As described, the president's proposal would prohibit the collection of bulk phone records. Instead, the government would seek individualized court orders every time it wants American phone metadata. The government would get the data from telecoms, which already keep it for at least 18 months. The proposal would solidify some changes Obama has already made: For instance, since January, analysts have needed to get court approval before searching the phone records database. Also, NSA analysts have only been able to obtain records from people who are two "hops" away from a surveillance target – a target's friends' friends – rather than three "hops" away. Obama's proposal would make both of those policies law. What it wouldn't do: It's hard to know. The White House hasn't released the actual text of the legislation, and lawmakers have yet to introduce it in Congress. But privacy advocates do have a lot of questions. One thing the president hasn't proposed: ending the bulk phone records program now. He could do that without any vote if he simply stopped asking the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to reauthorize the program, as Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has suggested. The secret surveillance court's last 90-day order for Verizon phone records has expired. President Obama reportedly wants the court to renew the program at least one more time, to give Congress a chance to pass new legislation. Until Congress acts, the NSA will continue collecting American phone records in bulk. Of course, if President Obama were to act unilaterally, another president could later reverse his changes. If Congress passes his proposal, his reforms will have the force of law. The president's proposal also appears to address only one of the NSA's many surveillance programs. It doesn't seem to change the FISA Amendments Act, which allows the NSA to sweep up foreigners' communications without a warrant. In the process, the NSA "incidentally" collects Americans' communications. In January, Obama said he would ask the Justice Department to limit the government's authority to use any American communications collected while targeting foreigners. The administration has not offered any details yet. However, even the Senate's biggest NSA critics say the FISA Amendments Act has been an effective counter-terrorism tool, so Congress is unlikely to repeal it. FISA Transparency and Modernization Act What it would do: very little to limit surveillance. Introduced by House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and ranking member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-MD, this bill represents the wishes of the NSA's biggest defenders in Congress. The bill nominally bans the government's bulk collection of phone records. Like Obama's plan, telecoms would keep the records, but this in proposal, the government could request the records without a court order. The bill also says it would prohibit the government from indiscriminate collection of other kinds of data, including "library circulation records," "firearm sales records," and "tax return records." But the government could still use search terms to get the records it wants. What else it would do: roll back current protections in the law. The legislation would no longer require that the government get a court order before obtaining American records. Instead, the secret surveillance court would review the privacy procedures before the Justice Department collects any records, and the court could also tell the government to stop collecting records after the fact. Also, under current law, the government needs to show that records are related to foreign terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. Rogers' bill would change that standard, requiring the government to show that records are for an individual who is associated with a "foreign power" – a broad term that includes terrorist groups, foreign governments and foreign political groups. If the bill passes, a lot would depend on how the secret surveillance court interprets it. For instance, what kinds of "selection terms" could the government use to search for records? The broader the search terms, the more likely it is that innocent people will get caught in the dragnet. Finally, Rogers' bill would not amend the FISA Amendments Act. "I don't believe that foreign collection on foreign soil is something that we need to change," Rogers said. This bill has House Speaker John Boehner's support. USA Freedom Act S.1599/H.R.3361 What it would do: A lot. First, the bill's authors, Democratic senator Leahy and Patriot Act author Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., say the legislation would end all bulk collection of American records. To do so, they'd narrow the language in the Patriot Act to require that the government only collects records that are " relevant and material" to an authorized investigation. To qualify, an investigation must be related to foreign terrorism or clandestine activities, and the records must directly "pertain" to a foreign power. The proposal would also close a so-called backdoor loophole that allows the NSA to search its databases for the content of Americans' communications. Under the new bill, analysts would need an individualized warrant to access any domestic content collected "incidentally." In addition, the lawmakers would also tighten oversight of national security letters, a kind of administrative subpoena that lets the FBI obtain records related to "national security" without a court order. The idea is to make sure that the government can't use the national security letters law to justify bulk collection of American records in the future. What it wouldn't do: The bill covers a lot of bases and has won the support of the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, 142 representatives and 21 senators. However, some worry that the bill does not unequivocally ban bulk collection of American records. Again, a lot depends on how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court interprets the statute. While this bill's language is narrower than current law, we now know the secret surveillance court has interpreted the Patriot Act very broadly. The EFF has suggested that the bill's sponsors make their intent more explicit. This bill has by far the most co-sponsors, but its prospects are uncertain – it was introduced in October, and it still hasn't reached the floor. S.1599 - Introduced in Senate 10/29/2013 (no further actions) H R 3361 - Passed House YEA-AND-NAY 22-May-2014 11:03 AM BILL TITLE: USA FREEDOM Act FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 230 (Republicans in roman; Democrats in italic; Independents underlined) YEAS NAYS NV REPUBLICAN 179 51 2 DEMOCRATIC 124 70 5 INDEPENDENT TOTALS 303 121 7 ---- YEAS 303 --- Aderholt Amodei Bachmann Bachus Barber Barletta Barr Barrow (GA) Beatty Benishek Bera (CA) Bilirakis Bishop (GA) Bishop (NY) Bishop (UT) Black Blackburn Boustany Brady (TX) Braley (IA) Bridenstine Brooks (AL) Brooks (IN) Brown (FL) Brownley (CA) Buchanan Bucshon Bustos Butterfield Byrne Calvert Camp Cantor Capito Capps Carney Carson (IN) Carter Cassidy Castor (FL) Castro (TX) Chabot Chaffetz Chu Cicilline Clay Cleaver Clyburn Coble Coffman Cohen Cole Collins (GA) Collins (NY) Conaway Connolly Conyers Cook Cooper Costa Cotton Courtney Cramer Crawford Crenshaw Cuellar Culberson Davis (CA) Davis, Rodney Delaney DeLauro Denham Dent DeSantis Deutch Diaz-Balart Dingell Duckworth Duncan (TN) Ellmers Engel Enyart Esty Farenthold Fincher Fleischmann Flores Forbes Fortenberry Foxx Frankel (FL) Franks (AZ) Frelinghuysen Fudge Gallego Garamendi Garcia Gerlach Gibbs Gingrey (GA) Goodlatte Gowdy Granger Graves (MO) Green, Al Green, Gene Griffin (AR) Grimm Guthrie Gutiérrez Hall Harper Hartzler Hastings (WA) Heck (NV) Heck (WA) Hensarling Herrera Beutler Higgins Himes Holding Hoyer Hudson Huffman Huizenga (MI) Hultgren Hunter Hurt Israel Jackson Lee Jenkins Johnson (GA) Johnson (OH) Johnson, E. B. Johnson, Sam Jolly Joyce Kelly (IL) Kelly (PA) Kennedy Kildee Kilmer Kind King (NY) Kinzinger (IL) Kirkpatrick Kline Kuster LaMalfa Lamborn Lance Langevin Lankford Larsen (WA) Larson (CT) Latham Latta Levin Lipinski LoBiondo Loebsack Long Lowey Lucas Luetkemeyer Lujan Grisham (NM) Luján, Ben Ray (NM) Lynch Maloney, Carolyn Maloney, Sean Marino Matheson McAllister McCarthy (CA) McCarthy (NY) McCaul McDermott McHenry McIntyre McKeon McKinley McMorris Rodgers McNerney Meehan Meeks Meng Messer Mica Michaud Miller (FL) Miller (MI) Moore Moran Mullin Murphy (FL) Murphy (PA) Nadler Napolitano Neugebauer Noem Nugent Nunes Nunnelee Olson Palazzo Pascrell Pastor (AZ) Paulsen Payne Pearce Pelosi Perlmutter Peters (CA) Peters (MI) Peterson Petri Pittenger Pitts Pocan Pompeo Price (GA) Price (NC) Quigley Rahall Rangel Reed Reichert Renacci Rice (SC) Rigell Roby Rogers (AL) Rogers (KY) Rogers (MI) Rooney Ros-Lehtinen Roskam Ross Roybal-Allard Royce Ruiz Runyan Ruppersberger Ryan (WI) Sánchez, Linda T. Sarbanes Scalise Schakowsky Schiff Schneider Schock Schrader Scott (VA) Scott, Austin Scott, David Sensenbrenner Sessions Sewell (AL) Sherman Shimkus Shuster Simpson Sinema Sires Smith (MO) Smith (NE) Smith (NJ) Smith (TX) Southerland Stewart Stivers Thompson (CA) Thompson (PA) Thornberry Tiberi Titus Tsongas Turner Upton Valadao Van Hollen Vargas Veasey Vela Wagner Walberg Walden Wasserman Schultz Waters Webster (FL) Wenstrup Westmoreland Whitfield Williams Wilson (FL) Wilson (SC) Wittman Wolf Womack Woodall Yoder Young (AK) Young (IN) ---- NAYS 121 --- Amash Barton Becerra Bentivolio Blumenauer Bonamici Brady (PA) Broun (GA) Burgess Campbell Capuano Cárdenas Cartwright Clark (MA) Clarke (NY) Crowley Cummings Daines Davis, Danny DeFazio DeGette DelBene DesJarlais Doggett Doyle Duncan (SC) Edwards Ellison Eshoo Farr Fattah Fitzpatrick Fleming Foster Gabbard Gardner Garrett Gibson Gohmert Gosar Graves (GA) Grayson Griffith (VA) Grijalva Hahn Hanabusa Hanna Harris Hastings (FL) Hinojosa Holt Honda Horsford Huelskamp Issa Jeffries Jones Jordan Kaptur Keating King (IA) Kingston Labrador Lee (CA) Lewis Lofgren Lowenthal Lummis Maffei Marchant Massie Matsui McClintock McCollum McGovern Meadows Miller, George Mulvaney Neal Negrete McLeod Nolan O'Rourke Owens Pallone Perry Pingree (ME) Poe (TX) Polis Posey Ribble Roe (TN) Rohrabacher Rokita Rothfus Ryan (OH) Salmon Sanchez, Loretta Sanford Schweikert Serrano Shea-Porter Smith (WA) Speier Stockman Stutzman Swalwell (CA) Takano Terry Thompson (MS) Tierney Tipton Tonko Velázquez Visclosky Walorski Walz Waxman Weber (TX) Welch Yarmuth Yoho ---- NOT VOTING 7 --- Bass Duffy Miller, Gary Richmond Rush Schwartz Slaughter
    Like (4)
    The government shouldn't be doing this without a warrant.