Backdoor dealing ‘weakened’ NSA reform bill ahead of US House vote


Secret negotiations between US House leadership and the Obama administration has “watered down” legislation intended to reform US government surveillance of domestic phone data, privacy advocates say, as the bill heads for a vote in the House this week.The bill – the USA Freedom Act – was originally intended to prohibit the US government’s large-scale collection of domestic telephone data. This version was passed through the US House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees this month accompanied by general support from the privacy and civil liberties community.Yet recent closed-door negotiations between the leadership of the Republican-led House and the Obama administration have left the bill with sapped privacy protections that do not adequately address mass surveillance abuses, privacy advocates say.The USA Freedom Act’s sponsor, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, filed on Tuesday a manager’s amendment with the House Rules Committee in an effort for it to get consideration on the House floor instead of the bill passed by the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees.

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