Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

Don’t Fall For The Republicans’ “USA Freedom Act”…It’s A Trap

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

Often in Congress, the most patriotic-sounding bills contain the most harmful legislation.

Consider, for example, the Protect America Act of 2007, which actually removed the warrant requirement for government surveillance of foreign intelligence targets.

Or how about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? I think we’re all familiar with Obamacare at this point.

Well, the tastefully named USA Freedom Act – which passed the House of Representatives last week by a 303-121 vote – is no exception to this rule.

The Act is meant to curtail the NSA’s extensive phone surveillance scheme and put an end to the agency’s mass data collection.

And at first, it had the unequivocal support of both Congress and privacy advocates alike.

But the bill was modified at the 11th hour, and privacy advocates say that the amended version does nothing to stop the NSA from continuing to operate with impunity.

A Matter of Semantics

The overarching goal of the Freedom Act is to take bulk phone data out of the NSA’s hands.

Instead of giving the NSA free rein over phone data records, those records will now stay in the hands of telecom companies. In order to search the records, the security agency will have to obtain a judicial order.

But the Obama administration pressured leaders in the House to water down the bill, and a few key changes were made to the wording.

One such change, according to the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative, allows the Director of National Intelligence to lead declassification reviews, rather than the Attorney General.

I imagine it’s not too difficult to guess which way the Director will lean in most reviews…

Unfortunately, that’s not the only change that favors the spy agency.

The most deceptive has to do with the “selector terms” – the terms that the NSA will use when defining the scope of its data request. In the original version of the bill, these terms were highly specific. But in the amended version, the wording was changed to something far more ambiguous.

Originally, a selection term was “a term used to uniquely describe a person, entity, or account.”

But the amended bill says that a selection term is “a discrete term, such as a term specifically identifying a person, entity, account, address, or device.”

The differences may seem minute; but in fact, they’re monumental. The bill that passed the House includes two more categories (address and device) and broadens the search possibilities from specific items to things such as those items.

As Zoe Lofgren, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said, “If we leave any ambiguity at all, we have learned that the intelligence community will drive a truck through that ambiguity.”

Without pulling any punches, Lofgren said that the bill “will actually not end bulk collection, regrettably.”

And it’s not just politicians who are skeptical of this particular change to the USA Freedom Act. Reform Government Surveillance, a conglomerate of Silicon Valley tech companies including Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOGL), and Facebook (FB), called the change to the selector terms an “unacceptable loophole that could enable the bulk collection of internet users’ data.”

On the bright side, the Senate has vowed to be extremely tough on the bill as it passes through their chamber. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, said he’d be proposing “lots of modifications.”

For Americans who are concerned about privacy, this is the last line of defense against a bill that fails to curb the NSA’s extensive power. Here’s to hoping that the Senate is ready to go to bat for privacy.

This editorial originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Expose Obama


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 888-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 888-388-7003 or online at M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.