17:10 GMT27 May 2020
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    The US National Security Agency (NSA) officially ended its controversial bulk metadata collection program at 7:44 p.m. Sunday night (23:44 GMT), CNN reported Monday, citing a senior government official.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) Three key provisions of the US Patriot Act, authorizing US government mass surveillance, expired on June 1.

    US officials had previously indicated that the program would be shut down some four hours before the midnight deadline to ensure all the necessary procedures were in place, according to CNN.

    The now defunct provisions of the Patriot Act made it possible for the NSA to collect information on phone calls in bulk, without warrants, as well as conduct other forms of surveillance.

    The Patriot Act, first enacted by President George Bush in October 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks, was extended by President Barack Obama in 2011.

    The White House has called on the US Senate to vote on the proposed Freedom Act, which would replace certain provisions in the Patriot Act.

    According to the White House, the Freedom Act allows US intelligence and law enforcement services "to retain key tools while strengthening civil liberty protections."

    US intelligence services came under fire after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked classified documents in 2013, revealing the scope of US global spying programs.

    Snowden’s revelations suggested that US authorities spied on US citizens, foreign nationals, dozens of world leaders and senior UN officials.


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    surveillance, Patriot Act, National Security Agency (NSA), United States
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