WASHINGTON — The Senate passed the USA Freedom Act today, a bill to amend the Patriot Act’s Section 215 and other surveillance authorities.
Jameel Jaffer, American Civil liberties Union deputy legal director, had this reaction:
“The passage of the USA Freedom Act is a milestone. This is the most important surveillance reform bill since 1978, and its passage is an indication that Americans are no longer willing to give the intelligence agencies a blank check. It’s a testament to the significance of the Snowden disclosures and also to the hard work of many principled legislators on both sides of the aisle. Still, no one should mistake this bill for comprehensive reform. The bill leaves many of the government’s most intrusive and overbroad surveillance powers untouched, and it makes only very modest adjustments to disclosure and transparency requirements.
“The passage of this bill is an indication that comprehensive reform is possible, but it is not comprehensive reform in itself. Over the next weeks and months, lawmakers must tackle the larger project of bringing the government’s surveillance practices back in line with democratic values. We hope the House will begin this project later this week by narrowing one of the administrative subpoena provisions that has been used for mass surveillance in the past.”