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United States Electronic Frontier Foundation Privacy Security Your Rights Online

ACLU and EFF Endorse Weaker USA Freedom Act Passed By Committee 107

First time accepted submitter sumakor (3571543) writes "The House Judiciary Committee has advanced a weakened version of the USA Freedom Act (HR3361). The amended compromise version allows collection of phone call records up to two hops away from a target, potentially including millions of customer records, and allows for collection without a judge's order in emergency cases. The amended bill also drops the requirement for a privacy advocate who can appeal the rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and extends the controversial Section 215 of the Patriot Act from 2015 through 2017.

Despite these significant changes the amended bill has been endorsed by the ACLU and the EFF as a first step and the most promising path towards reigning in government surveillance. The two organizations called for further Congressional measures to tighten control of surveillance authorities including an explicit definition of the term 'selector,' a reduction in the number of hops from 2 to 1 under most circumstances and the closing the loophole that allows searches of Americans' data inadvertently collected thru Section 702.

The bill now proceeds to the House Intelligence Committee, who has advanced its competing bill, the FISA Transparency and Modernization Act (HR 4291). The committee will mark up both bills on the same day, beginning at 10am Thursday, behind closed doors."
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ACLU and EFF Endorse Weaker USA Freedom Act Passed By Committee

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  • Re:Two things... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GargamelSpaceman ( 992546 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @09:43AM (#46948531) Homepage Journal

    Bill is a joke

    Yeah, even though the bill doesn't seem to grant more power to the government than it has already grabbed for itself, having a law around what was illegally done, legitimizes it after the fact, and puts the onus to create new law forbidding the abuses on those who would end them.
    and so are the groups that endorse it

    Except that the bill at least defines what can and can not be done. The status quo is no definition which means it's free to slide anywhere, by not being prosecuted crimes become norms.

    One of the biggest things they should hash out in the courts IMHO is the idea that copying data to a hard drive and not having humans look at it is somehow not unreasonable search. A machine you operate needs to be considered your agent, as machines will only get more intelligent. Indexing is understanding and machines do this. If your agents understand the information gleaned, then the information has been effectively searched. To obtain a copy of information your machine agents have had to handle every bit of the information and save it. Having a copy is the most basic version of understanding information. It equals search. Indexing just compounds the crime.

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