Senate to Vote Down US Freedom Act

Senate to Vote Down US Freedom ActSenate to Vote Down US Freedom Act

A major showdown between privacy rights advocates and security hardliners is set to take place Sunday in the US Senate as lawmakers prepare to take up revised security powers for America’s intelligence community. At stake is the USA Freedom Act, a bill that aims to rework the Patriot Act’s controversial phone metadata collection program.

The House of Representatives passed the act last week in a landslide 303-121 vote, with little more than a week left before key provisions, including the mass data collection item, expire at month’s end. But last Saturday, the Senate fell three votes short of the necessary 60 to pass the bill as lawmakers prepared for a one-week recess, World Bulletin reported.

The bill seeks to reign in the bulk data collection program in a key way: No longer would the NSA and other intelligence agencies be allowed to collect en masse Americans’ communications records. Instead, businesses would be expected to hold on to the information until an intelligence agency received an intelligence court’s order based on a “specific selection term.”