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Last Thursday, the Obama Administration announced details of its plan to overhaul the government’s bulk phone-records collection program, previously authorized under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act.
Under the proposed changes, the National Security Agency would no longer be in the business of collecting call records in bulk. Rather, the agency will be required to go directly to phone companies to obtain records, and it will need prior permission from a judge to access such information.
Some, like Michelle Richardson of the American Civil Liberties Union, have praised this action, calling the White House proposal “a crucial first step toward reining in the NSA’s overreaching surveillance,” according to NPR. Even NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden described this moment as “a turning point.”
Nevertheless, while this is an important step, many believe that the proposed action alone is not enough. Today, a coalition of public interest organizations joined together in writing a letter to Congress and the president, requesting a stop to all bulk collection practices by intelligence agencies and urging the passage of the Senate USA Freedom Act. ...