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US Freedom Act to Reform ‘Secret’ NSA Oversight Court -Digital Rights Group

© AP Photo / Charles DharapakThe National Security Agency building at Fort Meade, Md. The National Security Agency has been extensively involved in the U.S. government's targeted killing program, collaborating closely with the CIA in the use of drone strikes against terrorists abroad, The Washington Post reported Wednesday Oct. 16, 2013 after a review of documents provided by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden.
The National Security Agency building at Fort Meade, Md. The National Security Agency has been extensively involved in the U.S. government's targeted killing program, collaborating closely with the CIA in the use of drone strikes against terrorists abroad, The Washington Post reported Wednesday Oct. 16, 2013 after a review of documents provided by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden. - Sputnik International
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The new version of the US Freedom Act will reform the process by which a secret court authorizes the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) spying activities, a digital rights watchdog organization said in a press release on Thursday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, US Congress reintroduced the US Freedom Act in an attempt to curb the US intelligence community’s broad surveillance powers, including the bulk collection of phone records and the ability to spy on Americans with limited oversight, the release said.

Former Congressman Ron Paul of Texas speaking at the 2014 Liberty Political Action Conference (LPAC) at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia. - Sputnik International
Ron Paul: Don’t Be Fooled by Un-American ‘USA Freedom’ Act
“The newly introduced US Freedom Act includes reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court), the secret court that approves NSA surveillance requests,” according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

The new US Freedom Act, according to the EFF, directs the government to declassify significant FISA court opinions and bring in civil liberties advocates and technology experts when the court is considering novel interpretations of surveillance law.

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“These two changes are key because they add needed transparency. The one-sided FISA Court will no longer only hear from the government, and there will be more public scrutiny of a judge’s decision,” the release said.

Despite the bill’s serious flaws, the release explained, including failure to address NSA programs that intercept phone calls and monitor internet traffic, the legislation is still a step in the right direction.

“[L]egislators should vote for the US Freedom Act if they have the opportunity to do so because, on balance, it enhances liberty and privacy over current law,” the release said.

The US Freedom Act would repeal parts of the infamous Patriot Act, which the NSA used to justify the bulk collection of phone and business records on virtually every US citizen.

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