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    Members of the House of Representatives meet on Capitol Hill January 6, 2015 in Washington, DC

    US House Votes to Defund Warrantless NSA-CIA Communications Collection

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    The US House of Representatives approved an amendment to prevent intelligence agencies from receiving government funding for warrantless access to Americans’ private data and communications, amendment sponsor Congressman Thomas Massie said in a Thursday press release.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The amendment to the annual US defense appropriations bill would prevent the National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from searching or collecting communications data under the controversial Section 702 program of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) without due process.

    “Today, the House of Representatives passed an amendment… to defund two surveillance ‘backdoors’ that currently allow intelligence agencies access to Americans’ private data and correspondence without a warrant.”

    The amendment would also prevent the intelligence community from forcing US technology companies from building in security vulnerabilities, or “backdoors,” which allow surveillance of the companies' clientele.

    The FISA Section 702 program allows US intelligence agencies to siphon off internet communications data such as e-mails, instant messages, and web browsing history, according to the internet advocacy group, the Electronic Frontiers Foundation.

    Congressman Massie explained that his amendment “is a much needed next step as Congress continues to rein in the surveillance state.”

    Amendment co-sponsor Zoe Lofgren called the House vote “the most meaningful step Congress can take to end warrantless bulk collection of US persons' communications and data.”

    The final vote on the amendment was 255 to 174.

    Lofgren and Massie introduced a nearly identical amendment to end funding for the Section 702 program in 2014, but the measure was defeated in a vote by the Senate.

    The scope of the 702 program was first exposed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.

    Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA)
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