On midnight on Sunday, key provisions of the “Patriot Act” expired, including those points that say that the government can listen to and track any American’s phone calls without a warrant.
Although the Senate convened a rare late-night Sunday session to try to reach a compromise, Kentucky Senator and presidential hopeful Rand Paul was able to block measures to extend the Act in its present form, saying that it violates Americans privacy rights.
“This is a debate over the Bill of Rights,” said Paul, who is a staunch libertarian. “This is a debate over your right to be left alone.”
Two years after Edward Snowden, a contractor for the National Seurity Agency, blew the lid off of the government’s $1.5 billion dollar spying operation, the debate for many comes down to our personal liberties versus what is necessary and appropriate in defending the country against what one senator on the floor deemed “sophisticated and aggressive” threats against the U.S.
And though many senators say that by letting the act (which passed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks) expire, it is putting American lives at risk, Rand says phooey.
“The people who argue that the world will end and say we will be overrun by jihadists tonight are trying to use fear,” Rand countered from the Senate floor. “They just want to take a little bit of your liberty by using fear.”
In a compromise, the senate says it wants to pass the USA Freedom Act, which would rewrite Section 215 of the Patriot Act to end the NSA’s mass collection of the phone records of millions of Americans not suspected of any crime, reports USA Today.
The Freedom Act, however, is not expected to pass until Tuesday, so for the next few hours, your phone calls are not being tracked by “big brother.”