U.S. House rejects proposal to strip considerable power from NSA

U.S. House rejects proposal to strip considerable power from NSA

Summary: The NSA's data collection program will continue for at least another day (and then some).


The U.S. House of Representatives has rejected a measure that would strip considerable power from the National Security Agency -- specifically concerning collecting data from phone records.

The House voted 217-205 on Wednesday against a proposal from Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) challenging the federal agency's authority.

That authority has been hotly debated by lawmakers, the global media, and the public at large since news broke in early June about PRISM, a secret data mining scheme led by the NSA.

See also: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court asserts authority over phone records

The program involved monitoring data from nine of the top tech companies in Silicon Valley.

Many of them (notably Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft) have publicly denounced the PRISM program revealed through PowerPoint slides leaked to The Guardian and The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who is now on the run from the U.S. Government.

These companies have also denied any direct involvement, or "back door" to user data — a catchphrase that has been debated by both sides of the fence, as well as within the media.

Yahoo took things a step further to clear its name, petitioning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in Washington, D.C., to declassify documents from a specific classified case in 2008.

Yahoo won that motion earlier in July. the U.S. government has until the end of the month to report back on when it will be able to complete its review of the documents in order to declassify them.

via The Associated Press

Topics: Government US, Big Data, Legal, Privacy, Security

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  • Glad to know the House still retains some sanity

    Terrorism is real. How are we forgetting so quickly, 9/11's horror? If you don't give law enforcement the tools to find and kill the terrorists, or if possible, bring them to trial, then you may as well hide in your house until the terrorists hit it.

    Everyone's forgetting that data mining is NOT snooping on whether you are having an affair or engaging in some practice you don't want to come to light. It's only about FINDING TERRORISTS.

    We let companies data mine for purposes of targeting their ads, so why get all hot and bothered that OUR PROTECTORS are data mining to find the guys who want to destroy our countries?

    Facepalm at all the paranoid dingdongs out there, who think that if the NSA is doing it, it must be evil. Thank God the House of Representatives, is more informed.
    • Wow...

      Using 9/11 to scare people into doing what you want, huh?
      Freedom haters? Bad men with beards? Want to destroy the country?

      You guys really need to learn some new tricks.
    • re: Glad to know. . .

      "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
      -- Benjamin Franklin, 1775

      Enjoy your serfdom!
      rocket ride
      • Well said

        Don't like freedom? Wait till you don't have any more. Ask the Germans - it can happen!
    • brainout - your brain is out

      If you seriously believe the only thing NSA (or any area of our government that gets access to the data NSA is collecting) will use that data for is to "hunt terrorists", I gotta bridge for ya, brainout, that y'all will just love. Just pay me $300 million and its yours !

      And there is a simple and logical reason for my skepticism. There is NO PROVISION ANYWHERE in the NSA for the disposal of the data on our electronic activities once it has been collected. They MAY toss it after five years, but that is a "discretionary decision" on their part and NO ONE ELSE (not Congress, not YOU, not anyone) has any say in the matter.

      So, given these facts, my first question is: why would that data still be needed, once it has been "mined" for the triggers/flags the NSA is looking for that may identify potential terrorist activity ?

      Answer: There's a lot of valuable intel in that data ON AMERICANS and what they are doing. Why throw all that away ? After all, the government is only here to "help".
    • General searches were only about catching smugglers

      But after independence, Congress passed the Fourth Amendment anyway (after nearly every state had adopted similar constitutional provisions).
      John L. Ries
    • Missing the point

      It's worth noting that Osama Bin Laden was armed and trained by the CIA. Saddam Hussein was also armed and supported by the CIA. In the case of the Boston Marathon Bombing, the Russian secret service had previously sent a warning to their US counterparts about Tsarnaev.

      It doesn't require capturing and preserving the phone and Internet records of all Americans to figure out who the primary threats are. Disrupting plots like these has more to do with judgment and timely action than capturing *everyone's* communications.

      Under the current regime, the NSA has become a processing service for the FBI.

      There is no legitimate excuse for this secret unconstitutional behavior. Lawlessness doesn't fight terrorism, it promotes it.
    • Terrorists are...

      Terrorists are both foreign and domestic. Osama was a foreign terrorist and MLK was a domestic terrorist. We can now target foreign terrorists like Arabs or domestic terrorists like Occupy Wall Street.
      • Our boy OBL

        Forget that the CIA gave Osama Bin Laden 6 billion dollars to build the Mujahadeen (part of the 60 billion that it gave Pakistan).
      • So it seems

        you too know that the FBI and the NSA are used to "protect" business against the Occupy Wall Street movement? So you are either one of the ignorants or one of the bad americans that support the injustice.
    • Getting ready for the New World Order

      Most members of Congress no longer represent the people, but are part of the corporate//political elite that are striving with all their might towards the New World order, the New World dictatorial government that was prophesied to come in the closing days of world history. All of these facilities and all that data will be at the disposal of the world dictator when he finally steps on the world stage. He will use the infrastructure that has been created, not only in this country but in many other countries to consolidate his power and use the data already recorded to ferret out and eliminate any opposition. The new world economy will be a cashless system, where every single financial transaction between any two individuals on earth will be tracked. The immense storage and computing infrastructure necessary for all this is now being set up by the NSA and other similar government agencies of other countries.
      • That 'was' the plan

        But I can personally guarantee that not only will they not succeed, but that it is getting very, very close to game over for them.

        Not that it is time to give up the struggle, but a successful outcome is now a 100% certainty.
    • RE: Glad to know the House still retains some sanity


      The NSA spying is a waste of tax dollars, a conversion of this country into a communism, the PRISM project will obtain the nickname "The Great Wall of U.S. Data Collection". The NSA need to become field agents and track down the terrorists like the CIA has to overseas, stop the lazy pencil pushing b/s. If they were tracking maybe 100,000 people i could understand, but 130 Million is just insane. Guess brainout when you go to the store and buy some glue, some metal pipe's and end caps the NSA should pick you up and put you in jail for being a terror threat
    • Naïve

      The NSA data exist to help your government extort taxes from you.

      "Terrorism" is used as an excuse to do anything. Don't forget that your lying government never tells you why they are doing what they do. Therefore the given reason is a lie.

      The "T" word is as overused and meaningless now as "innovation" and "paradigm shift".
      Beast Of Bodmin
  • it's a democracy

    Let's do what democracies do...vote on it. Easy solution.

  • Not very bright.

    But then so many of our leaders are corrupt elitist utopians who prefer tyranny, with them on top of course.
    "Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free." - Dr Jerry Pournelle
    • "Equal men are not free"

      Matter of degree. I don't think a society that enforces absolute equality can be considered free,but I also find it hard to imagine a highly stratified society (let's say 5% of the population holding 95% of the wealth with little or no social mobility) that would be free for for anyone but those on the top of the heap (those that matter).
      John L. Ries
    • Not very bright.

      Of course its preferable for corrupt elitists utopian leaders to resist any change at all. They are on top and want to stay there. And that's exactly the way King Louis the XVI saw things and was totally surprised that anything was wrong with the system until of course the afternoon of Sept 21, 1793. When the world came crashing down around his ears so to speak
  • In breaking news...

    205 members of the house have found that they can no longer search via Google, their firends have all disappeared from their facebook accounts and their Windows machines no longer seem to do anything but show blue screens.....

    NSA's only comment is "we also know where you live...."

    • cut off

      I wrote "this is obviously a joke" after my post. That got lost in the posting. (yeah, stating the obvious, but some people seem to miss the obvious)