NSA Reform Bill Reaches Congress Floor

Richard Flamm
The Paw Print

An NSA bill to reform U.S. government surveillance is on the floor in Congress. The bipartisan bill represents a coalition of both parties in an effort to address the immensely unpopular American surveillance program that was recently brought to light by the polarizing Edward Snowden.
According to the Guardian, “It would prohibit the NSA’s bulk collection of  phone records of Americans under section 215 of the Patriot Act, the most controversial aspect of US surveillance revealed by documents supplied by Snowden to the Guardian.” This news will come to many Americans as a step toward welcome change, though others will criticize that it is not enough.
President Obama has promised to “pursue appropriate reforms.” Skeptics point out that the projected reforms are superficial and fail to address the deeper issue of American rights violated in the form of illegal searches. According to the Huffington Post, “All of those proposals are indebted to the revelations of NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Since June, when Snowden’s disclosures started appearing in the world press, the NSA has weathered a steady drip of damaging stories. Recently it was revealed that the agency has violated privacy rules thousands of times a year and that it has misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.” The character of Snowden and his actions have polarized many Americans who view him as either a “whistle-blower” or a “traitor.”
What rights the government has against its citizens is of principle concern in the upholding of freedom and avoiding infringement on civil liberties. As Congress debates the legality of the NSA’s actions, U.S. Citizens have a responsibility to support the way of life and government they see fit. The Post reports, “Civil libertarians have scored one victory: With polls showing a broad majority of Americans concerned there are not enough checks on the NSA’s powers, and with the House nearly passing an amendment in July meant to curb the bulk collection of phone call data, the Senate Intelligence Committee is allowing rare public hearings on the NSA’s programs.” Certainly, the actions of the NSA and the individual rights of the average citizen must be of principle concern in this time of reform.

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