It seems a last-minute plea by tech heavyweights, such as Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook, didn’t work — bear in mind that these companies are all hurt by (well-founded) foreign mistrust. The endorsement of President Barack Obama also failed to help.
The U.S. Senate has blocked the USA Freedom Bill by giving it two votes fewer than it needed to pass. The bill would have ended the bulk collection of phone records and internet metadata within the U.S., so that’s a real shame – such collection amounts to a form of mass surveillance.
On the other hand, it would also have extended Section 215 and certain other provisions of the Patriot Act, the post-9/11 legislation that underpins much of both domestic and foreign surveillance, beyond their June 1, 2015 expiry date. These provisions lets U.S. authorities demand that carriers and companies such as Facebook and Twitter hand over their business records in secret, obtain surveillance orders that don’t identify the target, and secretly spy on foreigners within U.S. borders. So that’s less of a shame – by the analysis of some including Jim Sensenbrenner, the USA Freedom Act’s co-author…
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