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house Bill H.R. 2048

Reining in Government Spying: Banning Bulk Data Collection

Argument in favor

This bill is a step forward for balancing civil liberties and national security. It ends the bulk collection of data, makes FISA courts more transparent, and makes it easier for the government to track known terrorists.

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05/06/2015
Anyone who is willing to sacrifice essential liberty to purchase a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin said that, and I will repeat it until it is a cultural norm. It is unacceptable that we were ever willing to throw away our Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights in favor of national security in the first place. Considering that Americans are at least eight times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than terrorists, I'm more worried about killer cops than cop killers.
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BarackObama's Opinion
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05/31/2015
"[This bill] reflects ideas from privacy advocates, our private sector partners and our national security experts. [...] We shouldn't surrender the tools that help keep us safe, it would be irresponsible and it would be reckless... [It has] overwhelming bipartisan support... So whats the problem? A small group of senators are standing in the way." [youtube.com/watch?v=BLlKojPit0o]
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Braille's Opinion
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05/08/2015
Just repeal the patriot act and be done with it
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Argument opposed

The un-reformed PATRIOT Act was more effective at providing the necessary intelligence to stop terrorism, and this bill could still do more to protect civil liberties. This leaves the government mired in the gray area between liberty and security.

Jake's Opinion
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05/06/2015
Anything short of repealing the Patriot Act is inadequate.
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Lance's Opinion
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05/01/2015
This bill does not go far enough in protecting the rights of Americans.
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Adrian's Opinion
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05/05/2015
It's a decent start, but it doesn't go nearly far enough. Tell your reps to vote for HR 1466, the surveillance state repeal act.
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What is House Bill H.R. 2048?

This bill would create new guidelines for surveillance and data collection under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the PATRIOT Act

The new guidelines would put a stop to bulk data collection by the government. So, for example, a large-scale, indiscriminate collection of all phone records from a state, city, or zip code would not be allowed. Under current law, bulk collection is authorized by Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, the FISA pen register authority, and national security letter statutes. Bulk collection of phone records (the phone numbers, length of calls etc.) from domestic and international calls made in the U.S. would also be prohibited without a direct order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

If passed, this bill would allow companies — like Internet providers — to challenge national security letter gag orders. Basically if an agency like the FBI requests information from a company, and doesn’t want that request disclosed to the public, companies would have a new process to challenge the gag order. The exception to challenging a gag order would be that disclosing the request for information could be a danger to national security or interfere with an investigation. 

A loophole that previously prevented the government from tracking suspected foreign terrorists when they enter the U.S. would be closed. If passed, the government would be authorized under this bill to track a suspected terrorist for 72 hours. The hope is that this window will give federal investigators time to get a legal authorization to track the suspect.

The statutory maximum prison sentence for supporting a designated foreign terrorist organization would be increased to 20 years. International investigations of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation would be enhanced. 

The newly-reformed PATRIOT Act would be authorized until December 15, 2019 when it would either sunset or be reauthorized.

Impact

If enacted, the bill most notably would end the NSA's ability to collect American internet and phone records without a court order. Americans whose data would otherwise have been gathered or are concerned with civil liberties, agencies with intelligence and counter-terrorism duties, the FISA court and its panel participants.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2048

$15.00 Million
The CBO estimates implementing the bill would cost approximately $15 million over the 2015-2019 period.

More Information

In-Depth:

The House Judiciary Committee passed this bill on a bipartisan vote of 25-2. The bill has also garnered support from a coalition of groups including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, the Center for National Security Studies, and the Center for Democracy and Technology.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has expressed support for portions of the USA FREEDOM Act, but holds that more should be done to prevent bulk surveillance of non-Americans by addressing Executive Order 12333, and a law that enables the PRISM surveillance program.

Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act is set to expire on June 1, 2015 without an intervention from Congress. A version of this bill was passed by the House on a 303-121 vote in 2013, but it failed to receive a vote in the Senate.

Other provisions of this bill include: 

A panel of outside amicus curiae (basically experts in their field) would be created in the FISA court to offer guidance on privacy, civil liberties, communications technology, and other technical or legal matters. The panel would also have the power to challenge government pleas before in foreign intelligence court. 

All significant interpretations of law by the FISA court would be made public. A public report would also have to be made outlining how the attorney general and the director of national intelligence use their national security authorities.

People convicted of supporting terrorist acts would have a new mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years (up from 15). 


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Flickr user -Tripp-

AKA

Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2015

Official Title

To reform the authorities of the Federal Government to require the production of certain business records, conduct electronic surveillance, use pen registers and trap and trace devices, and use other forms of information gathering for foreign intelligence, counterterrorism, and criminal purposes, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • EnactedJune 2nd, 2015
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed June 2nd, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 67 Yea / 32 Nay
  • The house Passed May 13th, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 338 Yea / 88 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Financial Services
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedApril 28th, 2015

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    Anyone who is willing to sacrifice essential liberty to purchase a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin said that, and I will repeat it until it is a cultural norm. It is unacceptable that we were ever willing to throw away our Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights in favor of national security in the first place. Considering that Americans are at least eight times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than terrorists, I'm more worried about killer cops than cop killers.
    Like (59)
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    Anything short of repealing the Patriot Act is inadequate.
    Like (37)
    Follow
    Share
    This bill does not go far enough in protecting the rights of Americans.
    Like (28)
    Follow
    Share
    It's a decent start, but it doesn't go nearly far enough. Tell your reps to vote for HR 1466, the surveillance state repeal act.
    Like (21)
    Follow
    Share
    "[This bill] reflects ideas from privacy advocates, our private sector partners and our national security experts. [...] We shouldn't surrender the tools that help keep us safe, it would be irresponsible and it would be reckless... [It has] overwhelming bipartisan support... So whats the problem? A small group of senators are standing in the way." [youtube.com/watch?v=BLlKojPit0o]
    Like (19)
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    Just repeal the patriot act and be done with it
    Like (15)
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    There has to be limits on the data that government collects on its citizens. This has gone on long enough. The people at NSA are smart, they can figure out a way to stop terror without stripping our civil liberties
    Like (12)
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    It's not much reform, but denying a bill because it doesn't go far enough is choosing nothing over something. Also, this bill would halt a significant amount of data collection which violates the provacy rights of Americans who are not suspected of wrongdoing.
    Like (9)
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    All this does is attempt to limit the massive data collection programs. We should be eliminating them, not supposedly "reining them in".
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    Everything this bill hopes to accomplish can be circumvented with an order from the FISA court or if it is a "danger to national security". The FISA court has rejected less than 0.1% of requests since its inception and "national security" is a blanket statement. This bill is all fluff.
    Like (6)
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    Big Brother has to color in the lines!
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    Doesn't the 4th. Amendment say it all? Why not?
    Like (6)
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    Sounds good! Thank you, Rep. Sensenbrenner, for caring about the people's right to privacy, as well as our national security.
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    Our country has evolved into the emo teenager of the world, attacking itself in self-loathing and whining. I think the hatred over the bulk collection came from people blowing it out of proportion and leading others to believe that someone sits in this place and actively listens to average Joe's phone calls. They have phone numbers and the length of time that you called that phone number. How do you people feel violated?! If you think that this information isn't sitting in the hands of someone else, you're wrong. Why not allow the people who have our nation's safety in mind to keep the data for reference when it comes to an issue of national security? Do you honestly think they care who you're cheating on your wife with, or how spicy your sex-talk with your girlfriend is? Can we all just grow up and realize that we're actually attempting to make it more difficult for our government to protect us?
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    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."-Benjamin Franklin
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    The only acceptable action is the full repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act. No less.
    Like (3)
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    If you believe "You should have nothing to hide" fair enough, in that case: send me a picture of you naked, send me your email address and password, your phone call records and all of your text conversations. I'll look through whatever I want and I won't show anyone I promise. Anyone still think privacy is for criminals?
    Like (3)
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    If the U.S. Constitution supports Bulk Data Collection then I support the Constitution. If not, the Government needs to stop spying on sovereign citizens. And keep your hands out of my wallet, off my guns and Bible.
    Like (3)
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    It runs directly in contravention of the 4th Amendment in the Bill of Rights. Want bulk collection? Pass an Amendment.
    Like (3)
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    My only issue with this bill is that it does not go far enough to protect citizens rights. We need this kind of legislation, I only worry we'll stop at half measures.
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