House Passes USA Freedom Act

Bill Would Limit Data Collection by Intelligence Agencies

The House Thursday passed a bill, supported by the President, that would further restrict the data collected from communications companies by the NSA and other intelligence agencies.

The USA Freedom Act (H.R. 3361) would take further steps to end bulk data collection by the National Security Agency, as well as boost transparency and reporting requirements for targeted data requests, require more specificity in those requests, and minimize retention and dissemination of nonpublic data.

The President announced his own modification to the data collection regime last March in the wake of revelations related to the NSA leaks.

"The bill ensures our intelligence and law enforcement professionals have the authorities they need to protect the Nation, while further ensuring that individuals’ privacy is appropriately protected when these authorities are employed," said the Executive

Office of the President in a statement on the bill this week. "Overall, the bill’s significant reforms would provide the public greater confidence in our programs and the checks and balances in the system. The Administration supports swift House passage of the USA Freedom Act, and urges the Senate to follow suit."

"The legislation is a step towards ending the broad intelligence gathering that angers so many Americans," said Daniel Castro, senior analyst with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. "While it does not go as far as most advocates would like in limiting certain types of government surveillance of communications, the bill does make an effort to curtail bulk collection of personal data.”