President Obama has signed the USA Freedom Act now that the Senate voted to reform the government’s access to Americans’ personal phone data. As a result, the National Security Agency must have a warrant to gain data from specific phone companies on a case-by-case basis. The bill passed in the Senate with a 67 to 32 vote. According to the New York Times, here is what Obama had to say on the recent developments:
“After a needless delay and inexcusable lapse in important national security authorities, my administration will work expeditiously to ensure our national security professionals again have the full set of vital tools they need to continue protecting the country. Just as important, enactment of this legislation will strengthen civil liberty safeguards and provide greater public confidence in these programs.”
The debate on whether to limit the government’s bulk collection of citizens’ phone data—previously enacted by the Patriot Act of 2001—first took off after the Edward Snowden scandal. Additional edits to the bill that were made in the Senate may need further review and approval from the House, a factor that some fear will slow down the process to move forward with the new mandates.
Read more about the story here at CNN. For a quick history on the Patriot Act, check out the video below.