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US Mass Surveillance Likely to Continue Under Trump

© REUTERS / Carlo AllegriUS Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears at a campaign roundtable event in Manchester, New Hampshire, US, October 28, 2016.
US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears at a campaign roundtable event in Manchester, New Hampshire, US, October 28, 2016. - Sputnik International
US surveillance programs stipulated in the USA Patriot Act will likely continue in some form during President-elect Donald Trump’s administration, US House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security General Counsel Joan O'Hara told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — A month after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, President George W. Bush signed the USA Patriot Act that expanded government surveillance of Americans’ online activities and authorized the bulk collection of telephone data.

"I would say probably in some form the [Patriot Act] program will continue," O’Hara said on Wednesday.

What the Patriot Act will actually look like, O’Hara explained, is a conversation that will have to play out in both the public sphere an in Congress.

Much of that surveillance has been done by the National Security Agency, on whose behalf Snowden worked as a contractor until June 2013, when through media outlets he leaked thousands of secret government documents.

In 2015, US Congress approved provisions to the Patriot Act to rein in the NSA’s controversial mass surveillance program.

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Many aspects of the law that remain, however, continue to raise privacy concerns, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) digital advocacy group said last month.

O'Hara noted however, that the people on the US President-elect Donald Trump’s team are open-minded, and are currently trying to get a complete picture of all the issues they will have to deal with.

"My impression is that they are open minded and really want to get a sense of the big picture, what the various opinions are, what the various political realities are, what the concerns are," O'Hara said on Wednesday. "It seems they really want to roll up their sleeves and dig in."

O'Hara noted that Trump's team is very much in a receiving mode, trying to reach out to lawmakers, the private sector and experts across the board "to really get a full picture of all the issues they’re going to be dealing with."

"So, I expect they’ll be making visits to Capitol Hill to talk to lawmakers over the next month or so." She added.

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