US senate shoots down Freedom Act designed to block mass phone spying
The US senate has damaged president Barack Obama’s attempt to end the NSA’s mass surveillance of telephone calls.
After a prolonged in-house debate the USA Freedom Act fell 60 votes short of progression, following the bill making its way through the House of Representatives with ease just last week.
Effectively, the bill would have ended the government’s mass collection of its citizens’ phone records – instead relying on telephone companies to gather and divulge material when required.
Critics of the bill expressed their unease however at placing the responsibility of surveillance in the hands of telecom firms.
Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader, said the proposed system was “slower and more cumbersome than the one that currently helps keep us safe,” according to the Telegraph.
He added: “At a moment of elevated threat, it would be a mistake to take from our intelligence community any of the valuable tools needed to build a complete picture of terrorist networks and their plans.”
As a result of the block, the US’ current programme, the legality of the current system, granted by the Patriot Act, will expire 31 May.