- Guy who wants to fund the border wall has privately raised $7 million Thursday 8:41 PM
- Mortal Kombat 11 trailer delights fans with gory fatalities, new characters Thursday 5:46 PM
- What you need to know about the data breach involving 773 email addresses Thursday 5:13 PM
- Senators fear government shutdown may affect FTC investigation of Facebook Thursday 3:43 PM
- Buy beer for a furloughed government worker with this new website Thursday 3:19 PM
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is teaching Congress how to tweet Thursday 2:42 PM
- Congressmen held genetics meeting with Chuck Johnson, despite his past racist claims about genetics Thursday 2:26 PM
- Female bodyguard thriller ‘Close’ is disappointingly un-thrilling Thursday 2:01 PM
- Twitter faces backlash for insensitive ‘triggers’ joke Thursday 1:13 PM
- 10 user-recommended sites for live tarot readings that are almost too good to be true Thursday 12:08 PM
- AsapSCIENCE comes for Jake Paul over Mystery Brand scam Thursday 11:34 AM
- Why ‘I never thought of it like that’ can actually be deeply offensive Thursday 11:26 AM
- Save 40% on the Fire TV Stick 4K when you rent textbooks through Amazon Thursday 11:05 AM
- Netflix reportedly used real disaster footage in ‘Bird Box’ Thursday 10:53 AM
- Holocaust denier Chuck Johnson spotted with 2 congressmen in Capitol Thursday 10:30 AM
Rep. Justin Amash: Sensenbrenner bill is best chance to limit NSA spying
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s USA Freedom Act gets the seal of approval from Amash, who lost a narrow fight to defund NSA phone spying.
Congress’s next legitimate chance to stop the National Security Agency from collecting information on all Americans’ communications might be just around the corner.
Despite hundreds of thousands of petition signatures, three major protests, and a drastic shift in public opinion, there’s only been a single time since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposed its surveillance programs that Congress has actually voted on whether to reign in the agency.
But the co-author of that first attempt, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), thinks an upcoming bill, by Patriot Act author Jim Sensenbrenner, really could be it.
Amash’s bill was actually an amendment to a budget, and would have simply defunded the NSA’s program that tracks the metadata—phone numbers, call times, and possibly locations—of Americans’ calls. It failed by a mere 12 votes, and Amash later said that several in Congress told him they’d change their votes now if they could.
Sensenbrenner’s bill, already touted for a few weeks, is expected to be introduced Tuesday. Six of its cosponsors are House representatives who voted against Amash’s amendment bill, and clearly now have voter’s remorse.
There’s more than a hint of irony to Sensenbrenner bringing this before Congress. The bill would overturn the part of the Patriot Act that has been interpreted by courts to allow metadata collection, but the Patriot Act was originally Sensenbrenner’s own work. His new bill indicates he hasn’t lost his flair for long acronyms since the Patriot Act was passed in 2001: It’s called the United and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet Collection, and Online Monitoring Act—or the USA Freedom Act.
Speaking before a crowd of several thousand privacy activists in Washington, D.C., Saturday, Amash offered his wholehearted support for Sensenbrenner and the USA Freedom Act. He didn’t mention any of the other dozen or so anti-NSA bills in congress:
I actually went into [Sensenbrenner’s] office when I was pushing the Amash-Conyers amendment . I said I wanted to meet with him, to convince him to support the amendment. And I got to his office and when I got there he said, “I know you’re here to tell me about your amendment. I’m going to support it.
Amash told the Daily Dot that it was remarkable his amendment had done as well as it had, given the constraints it faced.
“We had Republican leadership against it; we had Democratic leadership against it,” he said. “And despite all those obstacles, we came very close to passing the Amash-Conyers Amendment.”
“And I gotta tell you that afterwards, after we had that debate, people were saying congratulations, proud of what we’d done, even though we hadn’t had the vote yet,” he said.
Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr
A former senior politics reporter for the Daily Dot, Kevin Collier focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and issues of importance to the open internet. Since leaving the Daily Dot in March 2016, he has served as a reporter for Vocativ and a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed.