US Senate blocks NSA surveillance reform bill

A bill to extend certain provisions of the Patriot Act to July 31 was also blocked

NSA headquarters.

NSA headquarters.

The U.S. Senate voted early Saturday to block the USA Freedom Act, a legislation that aimed to put an end to the bulk collection of telephone records by the National Security Agency.

It also voted down a bill that would extend to July 31 certain provisions of the Patriot Act, including Section 215, which provides the legal framework for the current NSA phone surveillance program.

The Senate, which adjourned Saturday for the Memorial Day weekend, will reconvene on May 31, when it will try to hammer out a deal ahead of the June 1 deadline when the Patriot Act provisions expire, unless reauthorized in the same or modified form by legislation.

The USA Freedom Act was rejected by the Senate by a 57-42 vote, while the bid to extend the Patriot Act provisions, proposed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, was shot down in a 54-45 vote.

The House of Representatives voted 338-88 last week to approve the USA Freedom Act. The legislation would leave telephone records in the hands of carriers, while allowing the NSA to continue to collect telephone and business records in a more targeted manner.

"The Senate will return one week from Sunday. With your help we can end illegal NSA spying once and for all," wrote Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, in a Twitter message. Earlier in the week, Paul engaged in a filibuster to block a vote on extending Section 215.

Several digital rights groups and some lawmakers have called on Congress to let Section 215 of the Patriot Act expire.

In high drama on the Senate floor, McConnell repeatedly tried to extend the June 1 deadline of the Patriot Act provisions to other dates in June, but was blocked, according to reports. The administration has indicated that the NSA will begin to unwind its program if there isn't appropriate legislation well ahead of the June 1 deadline.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags U.S. SenatesecurityU.S. National Security Agencylegislationgovernmentprivacy

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?