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NSA Surveillance Reform Bill Passes House 303 Votes To 121 208

First time accepted submitter strangeintp (892348) writes "The first legislation aimed specifically at curbing US surveillance abuses revealed by Edward Snowden passed the House of Representatives on Thursday, with a majority of both Republicans and Democrats. But last-minute efforts by intelligence community loyalists to weaken key language in the USA Freedom Act led to a larger-than-expected rebellion by members of Congress, with the measure passing by 303 votes to 121. The bill's authors concede it was watered down significantly in recent days but insist it will still outlaw the practice of bulk collection of US telephone metadata by the NSA first revealed by Snowden."
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NSA Surveillance Reform Bill Passes House 303 Votes To 121

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  • Re:Slow clap (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22, 2014 @05:20PM (#47070291)
    Didn't you read the part about how watered down it became? There's nothing to clap about, unless someone gave you a reach around as you were being cornholed. Oh, and let's find out who the 121 douches were that voted against this.
  • by MaskedSlacker ( 911878 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @05:23PM (#47070321)

    last-minute efforts by intelligence community loyalists to weaken key language in the USA Freedom Act

    Instead of the NewSpeak "intelligence community loyalists" how about we call them what they really are: Enemies of the People.

  • who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @05:24PM (#47070329)

    Another case of the fox guarding the hen house.

  • by ilikenwf ( 1139495 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @05:24PM (#47070331)
    They aren't, this is all for appearance sake for elections, so that they can say "I voted in favor of privacy reform to protect you" in their political ads, while having done nothing in reality. It is BS.
  • Distraction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EMG at MU ( 1194965 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @05:29PM (#47070373)
    Everybody wins here, a bunch of people get to say they did something in the fight against the NSA. The Executive branch and those in the house who support invasive domestic spying get to keep the majority of their surveillance programs, and most importantly there isn't much more meaningful oversight so who actually knows if the NSA is following the rules. The Executive still gets to hide themselves behind national security letters, "state secrets", and special secret courts.

    However I do not feel like this caused any meaningful change. Hopefully the nation remains outraged at the NSA and this is just the first step in fixing our domestic spying programs, but I feel like we get a few meaningless bills passed and then this issue goes away until the next Snowden.
  • by Grog6 ( 85859 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @05:33PM (#47070403)

    They know everything about you; all it takes is a "gentle reminder" and this bill is turned into a termite-eaten stack of drivel.

    I didn't expect any different, It just means they had enough on enough people to effectively gut it before it was passed. We really knew that already...

    If it really meant anything, this bill would have contained a passage giving Snowden immunity, as long as he testifies against everyone else inside the Govt that violated the constitution with respect to their illegal activities.

    "It's not illegal when the President does it!" didn't work for Nixon, it should not have worked for Bush or Obama. Everyone should be in Jail, at this point, lol.

    WTF has our country become?

  • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @05:49PM (#47070527)

    The intelligence community isn't doing this in bad faith.

    Ho ho. If it wasn't in bad faith, why has Keith Alexander been lying through his teeth all this time?

    Not everyone is your enemy just because you disagree on how to accomplish a goal.

    When you're treated as the enemy as the American people have been by the intelligence community, what else would you expect the reaction to be? Rainbows and unicorns?

    Sorry, but doubling down on Total Information Awareness in secret after it had been shouted down publicly and repeatedly is a sign of a rogue agency out for its own interests.


  • by Ralph Wiggam ( 22354 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @05:55PM (#47070569) Homepage

    Your friend got shitty grades in those pre-renaissance Europe classes. The defining characteristic of the serf class was that people born serfs would live their entire lives as serfs and their children would too. There was no pathway to move up classes.

    It's difficult to move up in classes in modern America, but it's possible. Two of our last three Presidents were raised by poor single mothers. Dr. Dre grew up in Compton and just made a billion dollars.

    Actual serfs would have given anything for the rights, representation, and social mobility that we bitch about.

  • BFDâ¦. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @05:59PM (#47070599) Homepage Journal
    Big Fucking Deal, it passes.

    From what I've heard of what passed, not only does it NOT have any teeth to it, but it is written so broadly that with secret judges giving secret interpretations (even the secret judges don't consult with each other I"m led to believe), this could likely give the NSA and other TLA agencies *more* leeway to get creative in the work of crushing the US citizens' rights.

    C'mon folks, no matter who is currently in office, D or R, please this time around vote for anyone other than the incumbent, and let's sweep the house and senate clean over the next couple years and start from scratch.

  • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @06:01PM (#47070617) Homepage

    We need to fire everyone in Washington DC and reform the crap out of everything. Both sides are wrong here - why vote for a flawed by design bill? It only exists for political posturing for elections.

    Remember, term limits and "voting out the bastards" doesn't really mean much if lobbying (aka Bribery) is still funding their replacements. We need to fire everyone, and then keep moneyed interests from simply installing newly-bought idiots.

  • Re:Slow clap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uCallHimDrJ0NES ( 2546640 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @06:17PM (#47070697)

    How did our Congress become such a bunch of administration brown-noses? Seriously. What is wrong with them?

    You mean if you were in Congress, you wouldn't be afraid of the NSA? I'm afraid of them, and I'm just a regular guy with no power.

  • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @06:27PM (#47070771) Journal

    Here is my fix for Campaign Finance.

    1) Non-person entities cannot donate directly to any candidate or cause, but rather must fund their own "campaigns". If say ATT or Google want to help elect people, they can buy their own damn TV spots. "Google supports Harry Reid for senate".

    2) Persons can only contribute directly to campaigns for whom they are eligible to vote. Outside influences and PACS can buy their own damn TV spots (NRA, MoveOn, Koch, etc) "NRA supports Mitch McConnell".

    3) All advertising must present, who is the primary sponsor (PAC, Lobbying group, etc) with clear details on contributors. Groups wanting to keep their membership "secret" must display "Secret" prominently in their advertisement. "The ad paid for by Mothers Against Dumb Dads --- SECRET"

    People have a natural distrust of "secret" organizations.

  • Re:Slow clap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cornwallis ( 1188489 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @06:41PM (#47070879)

    Agreed. Since King of NY and Rogers of MI - who have the NSA's hand so far up their backsides - voted YEA I'm inclined to say the NAYS are close to being Patriots.

  • Re:Obviously: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @06:43PM (#47070893)

    Some of them were thinking that the bill was so watered down that it actually authorizes spying, and weren't fooled into approving it.

    And you were suckered into thinking that they were the bad guys. The establishment wins again.

  • by Oligonicella ( 659917 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @06:47PM (#47070933)

    No, they did not. The nobility could and did take whatever they wanted and there was no recourse. What you're spouting is a pipe dream concocted by academia to belittle today.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 22, 2014 @07:00PM (#47071019)

    Here's a better fix:

    Ban all campaign, ballot measure, etc. advertising entirely. Write a statement, put it on your webpage, and then shut the fuck up.

    What. The. Fuck.

    Amendment I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  • Re:BFDâ¦. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ATMAvatar ( 648864 ) on Thursday May 22, 2014 @09:13PM (#47071597) Journal

    Oh god. Not this again. What makes you think the replacements will be any better? This whole "vote for change because change is good" is such bullshit. If you are going to vote at least do it intelligently. It's voting blindly without thought that has gotten us into this situation in the first place.

    No, the situation we are in is the result of a House and Senate with a 90%+ re-election rate [] despite a 13% approval rating [].

    The message sent by this is that congressmen can do whatever they like, as they're going to get re-elected no matter how much they work against the public's interests.. It also makes bribery (via gifts, campaign contributions, and lucrative jobs upon leaving office) quite affordable.

  • Re:Slow clap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @03:01AM (#47072601) Homepage Journal

    You mean if you were in Congress, you wouldn't be afraid of the NSA? I'm afraid of them, and I'm just a regular guy with no power.

    If you are afraid of the NSA, you have no job being in congress, and/or your primary goal should be to shut it the fuck down, because if an arm of the executive has the legislative so afraid that it can control them, then you're not living in a democracy anymore. For a free country. You're living in a military dictatorship.

  • by Ralph Wiggam ( 22354 ) on Friday May 23, 2014 @12:08PM (#47074935) Homepage

    Pointing out that a few people have experienced very lucrative social mobility is not evidence of the system as a whole being conducive to it.

    I specifically said it was difficult. But it is clearly possible. It was impossible for a serf.

"The following is not for the weak of heart or Fundamentalists." -- Dave Barry