US Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rand Paul (R-KY) and Representatives Justin Amash (R-MI) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced the Ending Mass Collection of Americans’ Phone Records Act on Thursday that would permanently prohibit the National Security Agency (NSA) from collecting phone records.
Although Congress amended the PATRIOT Act in 2015, the NSA continued to collect phone records from American citizens. Some reports show that the NSA ended this practice around six months ago. The 2015 amendments, known as the USA Freedom Act, expire in December and are eligible for Congressional reauthorization.
Paul said, “The federal government’s appalling violations of our Fourth Amendment rights must end. This bill permanently stops one of the sprawling surveillance state’s most intrusive overreaches and is the first step in a movement to reclaim the constitutional liberties sacrificed by the overreaching provisions of the PATRIOT Act.”
The American Civil Liberties Union said that it should be a “no-brainer” for Congress to approve the bill. The organization continued, “The [NSA] program has no proven intelligence value, violates our privacy, and has been plagued with compliance issues. But just ending that one authority isn’t enough.”