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Vote Whether to Renew Patriot Act Provision Draws Heat from Civil Liberties Groups

by Alex Gauthier, published

A coalition of dozens of civil rights organizations are mounting pressure on Congress to not renew key provisions of the Patriot Act. They're specifically targeting Section 215 of the law, which is up for re-authorization on June 1. Section 215 is a provision which has allowed the National Security Agency (NSA) to sweep up the phone metadata records on millions and millions of Americans living within the US, whether or not they are suspected of a crime. According to the Guardian, this data includes:

  • Location data,
  • Call duration,
  • Unique identifiers,
  • Time and duration of all calls

The extent to which Section 215 was being exercised by the NSA was revealed by former cyber security contractor Edward Snowden in June of 2013. Since the initial reports were published, public opposition to the practice has grown.

Outspoken critics of the bulk data collection practice include Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) who tweeted his support for ending Section 2015 on Wednesday.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has also come out against the practice of bulk data collection. During his presidential candidacy announcement speech Tuesday, Paul said,

"And as president on day one, I will immediately end this unconstitutional surveillance," He added, "I believe we can have liberty and security. And I will not compromise your liberty for a false sense of security, not now, not ever. "

The Electronic Frontier Foundation released this video on Wednesday:


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