US President Barack Obama signed USA FREEDOM Act 2015 into law

This Act has limited government’s ability to collect phone data, which was done through a policy named as 2001 USA Patriot Act, which was in existence since the attacks of 11 September 2001.

Created On: Jun 3, 2015 16:20 IST

US President Barack Obama on 2 June 2015 signed the USA FREEDOM Act 2015 in law. The USA FREEDOM stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2015.

With this, the National Security Agency (NSA) lost its authority to collect the phone records of millions of Americans.

The Act was approved by the Senate on 1 June 2015 by 67-32 votes and was passed by the House of Representatives on 13 May 2015. The Act will remain in effect until 15 December 2019.

Main Highlights of the Act

• It reauthorizes USA PATRIOT Act 2001 that expired on 1 June 2015.
• It require the government obtain a targeted warrant to collect phone metadata from telecommunications companies
• It amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Act of 1978 to establish a new process so as to make the process of submitting of warrant by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to a FISA court more transparent. FISA Court reviews the warrant requests submitted by the FBI for an order requiring the production of business records or other tangible things for an investigation.
• It amends the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 to require the Inspector General of the Department of Justice to audit the effectiveness and use of FISA authority to obtain production of tangible things from 2012 to 2014, so that the constitutional rights of U.S. persons is adequately protected.

It is the first piece of legislation to reform post 9/11 surveillance measure known by the name USA PATRIOT Act which was adopted in October 2001, six weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attack. The USA PATRIOT stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.

The Act is the culmination of efforts to reform the NSA that blossomed out of NSA leaker Edward Snowden's 2013 revelations. Snowden is the former NSA contractor who released secret information about U.S. spying in June of 2013


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