00:01 GMT02 June 2020
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    The US Freedom Act has now passed the Senate and is on its way to the White House. It rewrites some of the most controversial acts in the US Patriotic Act which was passed after 9/11.

    Sputnik radio's host of the show BradCast, Brad Freidman, pointed out that the political side of this new Act saw an interesting battle. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell started the debate over surveillance reforms with a clear plan in mind; defeat the House backed USA Freedom Act, extend the status quo and keep the Patriot Act going.

    As told by Friedman, "When that plan failed spectacularly, McConnell moved to his hastily thrown back up plan to amend the USA Freedom Act to make it more conservative. But that strategy flopped too."

    Rand Paul, on the other hand, who is an ally of McConnell as both are Kentucky Republicans, argued that the bill went far enough. McConnell thought that the bill means ‘let the terrorists win', whereas, Rand Paul thought the bill was still too intrusive.

    As the new bill soon to be logged gets the government out of the business of housing and storing the metadata that is collected by the NSA, it now looks like it will be kept with the private phone companies.

    Under the new law, the US National Security Agency (NSA) must transfer its telephone metadata collection program into the hands of private telecommunications companies over the next six months.

    As for Marcy Wheeler, an American independent journalist specializing in national security and civil liberties, she supports Rand Paul on this one. She said that the major difference now will be that instead of the government being able to search for anything they want; now they will have to put more than one search term. For example, instead of writing California and having all the people's information, now they will have to add the name of the person they are actually looking for.

    However, at the NYU Brennan Center for Justice, the academic community applauded the passage of the US Freedom Act.

    They said for the first time since 9/11 Congress has placed significant limits on governments' ability to spy on Americans.

    As mentioned by Friedman in BradCast, once it is signed into law it will end the NSA surveillance of phone records, emails, and various types of business records. It will introduce a measure of transparency. It will give the courts the option of conducting more ‘balanced' proceedings.

    Regarding the court choosing to conduct ‘balanced' proceedings, Friedman concludes that the government will do what it wants to do anyway.

    Even the civil liberties experts at the Brennan center who supported these amendments, say that the government will pretty much do what they want to do.

    Before 9/11 the government had not pass such a bill, and although Bill Clinton suggested it, the government said it was too intrusive. But after 9/11 they decided to pass it. Despite everything, this law will still be real change after 9/11. "It is something that is better than nothing."

    Brad further mentions Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning who are the ones who made it all transparent but are still paying the price for what they did. He mentions how Joe Biden called Snowden a terrorist.

    Ironically it is the government who knows everything that people are doing and then they lie about it to Congress, which is illegal, but there are still no consequences for that.

    Last year it was the most scandalous thing to talk about what the NSA was doing, but now all of a sudden it is being treated like it's no big deal.


    Ron Wyden: Freedom Act Marks Beginning of Future Intelligence Reforms
    Former NSA Director: Freedom Act Vote is Approval for Bulk Data Collection
    Patriot, Freedom Acts Unlikely to Protect US From Terrorism – Think Tank
    radio, Patriot Act, USA Freedom Act, NSA, United States
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