US Senate Blocks Surveillance Bill

US Senate Blocks Surveillance BillUS Senate Blocks Surveillance Bill

The US Senate blocked a bill that would have ended the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records by the National Security Agency (NSA). It also failed to authorize a temporary extension of the current legislation.

A US appeals court has already ruled the bulk collection illegal. The NSA’s spying was leaked by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who has since fled to Russia, BBC reported.

The NSA has collected data about numbers called and times. It also allegedly spied on European firms. Among individuals targeted was German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The White House has pressed the Senate to back the a bill passed by the House of Representatives - the Freedom Act - which would end bulk collection of domestic phone records. These records would remain with telephone companies subject to a case-by-case review.

Another vote held over a two-month extension to the existing programs - Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act - also failed to reach the threshold. The Patriot Act was passed after the 9/11 attacks and which will expire on 1 June.