Despite last-minute criticism from privacy advocates, a bipartisan coalition in the House on Thursday easily approved a
The House voted 303-121 to send the proposed USAFreedom Act to the
Lawmakers acknowledged the bill was not perfect, but said it represented a first step in halting the dragnet-style sweep of data disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden a year ago.
“The USAFreedom Act is an important step in the right direction,” said the Republican and Democratic leaders of the
The bill seeks to end the NSA's bulk collection of metadata by requiring the government to make specific requests for phone or other business records. It also requires the government to obtain a court order, except in emergency situations, before conducting surveillance.
Privacy advocates withdrew their support for the bill after changes were made in the final days before the vote. Chief among their objections was the White House insistence on broadening the definition of the types of searches that can be conducted.
However, the advocates did not encourage a "no" vote and vowed to seek to reinstate privacy protections as the bill heads to the Senate.