Published May 2nd, 2015


With just under thirty one days until section 215 of the Patriot Act expires, and almost two years since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the invasive nature of the National Security Agency, the United States’ House Judiciary Committee has approved the Freedom Act by a staggering vote of 25-2. It suggests that it might not be completely outrageous to say that the NSA’s controversial internal spying capabilities will now decline (touch wood).
To summarise, Section 215 of the Patriot Act is the authorisation of the bulk data collection program popularly used by the NSA and the FBI, the same program so brought to light by infamous ‘traitor’ and awful bad man Edward Snowden.

The implementation of the Freedom Act is set to drastically hinder both section 215 of the Patriot Act, as well as Section 214 which allows the authorisation of pen register and trap and trace surveillance.

So basically you could say that these sections of the Patriot Act are really shit and the fact that the Freedom Act is on the way to replace them is really good; the Freedom Act essentially a more defined and customer friendly adaptation to the Patriot Act.

mwcpopcornThese adaptations include the prohibition bulk collection of all records under section 215 of the Patriot Act, prohibition of large-scale, indiscriminate collection, such as all records from an entire state, city, or zip code and an updated FISA court to better deal with issues surrounding matters of privacy and civil freedoms, communications technology, and other technical or legal matters. (You can read the full list here.)

Although the Freedom Act isn’t exactly the knight in shining armour that first impressions may suggest, it is a step towards allowing the full freedom and privacy many citizens have been hoping for.

Critics of the bill however are pointing out that the Act does not go far enough in protecting civil liberties, but the fact remains that finally there’s some recognition that Section 215 was a travesty, and that the NSA’s abuse of it was one of the greatest injustices of civilian rights in the western world.

Who wants anyone to look at their browser history or their 3am messages anyway? No one, that’s who.


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