U.S. Senate blocks legislation on curbing NSA’s bulk data collection program

“The Senate blocked legislation that would have limited the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records, more than year after Edward Snowden exposed the extent of U.S. government surveillance programs,” Kathleen Hunter reports for Bloomberg. “The bill was an attempt to force spy agencies to collect only information sought through a court order and exclude the use of broad searches like by ZIP codes.”

“The Senate, with a Democratic majority, needed to act on the vote now before Republicans, many of whom support government surveillance programs, take control of the Senate in January following key wins in this month’s elections. Republicans already control the House,” Hunter reports. “The 58-42 vote to move the measure forward came mostly along party lines.”

“U.S. Internet and technology companies say they’ve already lost contracts with foreign governments over the issue. Forrester Research Inc. estimates the backlash against NSA spying could cost as much as $180 billion in lost business. Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc. are among the companies pushing for limits,” Hunter reports. “The U.S House passed a bill, H.R. 3361, curbing NSA powers in May. However, there are differences between the House bill and the Senate measure that could complicate efforts to come to a final agreement by the end of the year. A group of technology companies, including Facebook, Google and Apple, opposed the House bill because of what it called an ‘unacceptable loophole that could enable the bulk collection of Internet users’ data.’ Some lawmakers who voted against the bill agreed that the legislation should have been stronger.”

Read more in the full article here.

“The “USA Freedom Act” was supported by an unusual coalition of Democrats and conservative Republicans concerned about Americans’ privacy, but failed 58 to 42, falling short of the 60 votes needed to move ahead,” Patricia Zengerle reports for Reuters.

“The measure is not likely to be taken up again anytime soon,” Zengerle reports. “Republican successes in elections on Nov. 4 gave the party control of a majority of seats in the Senate [53 Republicans, 44 Democrats, 2 Independents, 1 race TBD] and a larger majority in the House [244 Republicans, 186 Democrats, 5 races TBD] starting in January.”

Read more in the full article here.

“U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said he voted against the bill because it would have extended the Patriot Act provision that allows the NSA to search Americans’ phone records,” Matt Sledge and Ryan Grim report for The Huffington Post. “He has consistently opposed the Patriot Act, passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.”

“While Paul said he ‘felt bad’ that the bill failed, because it ‘probably needed my vote,’ he also claimed the country was ‘one step closer to restoring civil liberties,’ because the Patriot Act provision’s expiration date will not be extended,” Sledge and Grim report. “NSA reform’s next stop is May 2015 — the Patriot Act provision’s original expiration date.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: United States Constitution, Amendment IV:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. – Ronald Reagan, March 30, 1961

Visit the Apple-backed reformgovernmentsurveillance.com today.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Sparkles” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
American citizens’ cellphones targeted in secret US government spy program – November 13, 2014
The U.S. NSA can still listen to your iPhone’s microphone when off; here’s the trick to beat it – June 10, 2014
How the NSA tapped AT&T’s network – May 23, 2014
U.S. House passes bill to curb NSA data collection programs – May 23, 2014
Apple, others to defy U.S. government authorities, notify customers of secret data demands – May 1, 2014
US NSA used Facebook to hack into computers – March 12, 2014
Rand Paul: ‘What you do on your cellphone is none of their damned business!’ – March 8, 2014
U.S. NSA watching, tracking phone users with Google Maps – January 28, 2014
Apple issues update on U.S. NSA and law enforcement orders – January 27, 2014
Obama’s NSA proposals fall far short of real change – January 17, 2014
U.S. NSA devises radio pathway into computers to conduct surveillance, launch cyberattacks – January 15, 2014
The NSA, Apple’s iPhone and a whole lot of bad reporting – January 8, 2014
U.S. NSA seeks to build quantum computer to crack most types of encryption – January 3, 2014
Ex-NSA chief calls for Obama to reject commission’s recommendations to rein in NSA surveillance – December 30, 2013
How the U.S. NSA remotely bugs your Apple iPhone – December 30, 2013

56 Comments

      1. Sheesh, First blah blah can’t stand that his nonsense is placed lower on the page if he gets to the party late so he dumps his under an unrelated post.
        Hey bud, the repubs defeated the bill because they want this stuff to go on, unbridled as it is now.

          1. You’re right:

            Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, a campaign advisor and major Barack Obama donor, has publicly stated his disdain for human privacy on multiple occasions as well.

            “We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about,” Schmidt said in 2010. “We know everything you’re doing and the government can track you. We will know your position down to the foot and down to the inch over time.”

  1. The NSA’s bulk collection of US citizen data within the USA is entirely UNconstitutional in the first place. Making a law to reinforce what’s already law is ridiculous. What’s required is a court case to put this into the Supreme Court where they can stamp it as OBVIOUSLY unconstitutional, locking down the stupid NSA to observing Fourth Amendment rights the way they and the entire idiotic executive branch should have been doing in the first place.

    Thankfully, the EFF (among others) are forcing this to happen.

    1. The Constitution is widely ignored and laughed at by lawyers in robes and in suits on both sides of the table- something to be manipulated for fun and profit.

      In Texas recently, a sitting Judge and former prosecutor pled guilty to sending an innocent man to jail for his wife’s murder. The Judge- then prosecutor sat on evidence from the crime’s only eyewitness to put the guy behind bars for 25 years.

      The now former Judge’s plea bargain gets him this: 10 days in jail, loss of law license and 500 hours of community service. For wrongfully sending a man to jail for 25 years, which also means the man who killed his wife got away without prosecution.

      The Constitution says we are not to be deprived of life liberty or property without due process.

      The NSA will never willingly give up this illegal program and the politicians will not demand it unless their jobs are on the line. Sad but true.

      1. We pass tens of thousands of laws in this country every year. All are designed to control “we the people” just a bit more. Creeping totalitarianism. Only one document is designed from the ground up to protect us from them. Our so called “representatives.” That’s the Constitution.

        Many politicians despise it because it stands up to them. Barack Obama calls it “A flawed document.” Without it, all our asses are belong to them.

        It’s the big reason I support the second amendment. I don’t own a gun. I’m not particularly interested in owning a gun. I worry though that if the second amendment, is defeated, a thread will be left hanging, and the unraveling will start.

        1. I understand where you come from and plan on not retiring in this country (I’m 53 next week) as I see things in a steady state of decline. 15 years from now America will not be a very good place to live or grow old in at the current pace of decline in civil liberties and privacy.

          Sad, but true.

            1. Depends on politics and the progress of climate change. Fortunately, I started saving for retirement and investing in my early 20s and have what is on track to be a healthy retirement portfolio.

              Started buying Apple stock in 2001 and stopped shortly after it topped $300/share. I sold a little of my Apple stock and bought a new car with it after Apple stock went over $400/share as a reward. Also got into Tesla fairly cheap (less than $40/share 3-4 years ago), wish I had bought more.

              Lucky enough to have worked a couple of places with vested pension plans that will not run out like a 401k/403b and have a Roth IRA, a 401k and various stocks. Have a little precious metal- not on paper.

              Money should not be a problem and the determining factor will be the condition America is in and the condition the places I am looking at will be in at that time. Retirees can pretty much migrate anywhere they wish if they have the finances to take care of themselves.

      2. The Constitution is widely ignored and laughed at by lawyers in robes and in suits on both sides of the table- something to be manipulated for fun and profit.

        Like King George III lording over the US colonies for fun and profit.

        What else is there to say except: It’s time for RE-revolution.

        I’m around to help when you’re ready USA! Just let me know. Meanwhile, my apologies as a citizen of the USA for the behavior of my sick country.

      1. There are no gun grabbers outside of Glen Beck and other Right Wing Provocateurs rants for profit. They scare the shit out of the paranoid for fun and profit.

        You really think your sidearm or rifle will defend you against a law enforcement agency or agencies? It might get you killed, the cops are quite trigger happy these days.

    2. Welcome to Gulag Americana
      Oh, such lovely days
      (Oh, such lovely days)
      Such a lovely taze.
      Plenty of doom at Gulag Americana
      Any time of year
      (Any time of year)
      You can live in fear.

      Last thing I remember was the knock on the door,
      I had to find the freedom back to the place I was before.
      “Relax,” said the Dark Man, “We are programmed to receive,
      You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

      Plenty of doom at Gulag Americana
      Any time of year
      (Any time of year)
      You can live in fear.

      1. I consistently enjoy the brain twister of Totalitarianism. It doesn’t matter a damn what beyond-the-edge political bullshit is being FORCED onto others. It could be left, or right, or up, or down, or in, or out. All madness heads off the script to that ultimate INSANITY of TOTAL POWER OVER OTHERS we call Totalitarianism.

        From my perspective, Totalitarianism is the desperate cry and bestial predation of others from the insanely INSECURE. Oops, total control maniacs: Your insecurity will not be sated even a little by taking total control. Welcome to that next level of your insecurity called PARANOIA. You just bought it. It’s your’s. You won’t enjoy it at all.

        And then you’re dead.

      2. Distractions on your TV,
        The new singer on Idol…
        And she sang “We are all just sheeple here, by willful ignorance”

        And in the Capitol City,
        They gathered for the protest.
        They stand up with their cardboard signs,
        But they just can’t stop the lies.

        Plenty of doom at Gulag Americana
        Any time of year
        (Any time of year)
        You can live in fear.

      1. The bill was a weak one watered down to please Obama’s people at NSA/CIA/FBI. No hope and little change from Obamanation.

        Rand Paul sometimes says the right things, but then waffles like every other politician when it is time to fish or cut bait.

        We need a new Constitution but those who would get the nod to write a new one I would not trust to do a good job.

        1. How come so many Republicans voted against it? Are you saying they thought it STILL gave the NSA too much power. If the quote from McConnell is accurate, it sounds like the Republicans killed it because it went too far in curbing the NSA. So how is that Obama’s fault?

          1. The Dems weakened the bill to please the Agencies that are actively spying on Americans without cause, warrant or legality- those would be Obama appointees who serve at his pleasure within the Executive Branch.

            Obama cares not about your privacy- he is a corporate Democrat that lied to Progressives in the Democratic Primaries in 2008 and everybody else in the general election campaign. He doubled down on just about everything Bush was doing except the waterboarding- some hope and change.

            he is such a nominal Democrat a recent article in The American Conservative was titled Obama is A Republican. True Dat.

            6 years in, you are not still waiting for the real Obama to come out, are you?

            1. No, I have no faith that Obama will be helpful in any move to significantly restrict the NSA.

              I just can’t reconcile McConnell’s comments that we need strong protection and this is not the time to weaken [the NSA] with your assertion that the problem with the bill was that it was weakened by Democrats.

            2. No President is ever going to bring members of a prior administration to justice, no matter what the crimes. The best hope is that the new President will not continue the lawbreaking and make it a little more obvious where the line is drawn. As long as we think a lawyer can write a “Get our of prosecution free” letter that absolves an adminstrations actions (John Yoo and Jay Bybee) you will have administrations pushing the edge of the limits.

              Personally, I think Yoo and Bybee should be among the first in line for prosecution, but it’s never going to happen.

            3. I know. It’s amazing how the whole band of crooks and mental defects were able to find work. Rice popping up on Boards of Directors everywhere, Yoo teaching law. Bush was the only one who had to go into hiding. I guess that’s sort of like house arrest, but it leaves the nations honor besmirched.

      2. You think the republicans will not continue the patriot act? You are dreaming my friend, dreaming. The next 2 years will see huge attacks on civil liberties. They will be continued wars on personal freedoms from voting to abortion. It will be crazy.

        1. Abortion. The “personal freedom” to murder. Abortion is murder by another name. The basic act is killing life. I oppose killing in all forms: murder, euthanasia, fetus murder, and the death penalty. Life is a gift. No human has the right to take the life of another human.

          1. “I oppose killing in all forms: murder, euthanasia, fetus murder, and the death penalty. Life is a gift. No human has the right to take the life of another human.”

            God for you. Now, how about war?

          2. If men were the child-bearing gender – it wouldn’t even be a topic of discussion.

            Men love to kill, and send others to war. They would have no problem aborting their own child. And sure as all hell, wouldn’t want the opposite sex telling what to do with their bodies.

        2. “The next 2 years will see huge attacks on civil liberties.”

          Starting with the 2nd Amendment, state by state. It may come to violence, and when it does the government will officially declare war on its citizens.

      3. I just don’t see any experienced presidential candidate better than Rand Paul:

        Paul was sworn in on January 5, 2011 along with his father, marking the first time in congressional history that someone served in the Senate while their parent simultaneously served in the House of Representatives. Paul also formed the Senate Tea Party Caucus with Jim DeMint and Mike Lee as its inaugural members. His first legislative proposal was to cut $500 billion from federal spending in one year. This proposal included cutting the Department of Education by 83 percent and the Department of Homeland Security by 43 percent, as well as folding the Department of Energy into the Department of Defense and eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Seven independent agencies would be eliminated and food stamps would be cut by 30 percent. Under Paul’s proposal, defense spending would be reduced by 6.5 percent and international aid would be eliminated. He later proposed a five-year budget plan intended to balance the budget.

        In February, Paul was one of two Republicans to vote against extending three key provisions of the Patriot Act (roving wiretaps, searches of business records, and conducting surveillance of “lone wolves”—individuals not linked to terrorist groups). In May, he remained the last senator opposing the Patriot Act, and was ultimately defeated on May 26.

  2. i just don’t know what the heck is wrong with these people.

    they just don’t think things thru

    oh sure it is for our safety and defense, primarily from outside terrorists, but somehow they fail to recognize that once these practices become institutionalized they are here to stay.

    and while conservatives accuse obama of being a socialist and destroyer of the constitution…. well, if he is their worst nightmare – why the heck are they giving him (and all subsequent presidents) the capability dragnet all of our private communications, w/o a search warrant, and right to spy on the american public ?

    granted the democrats seem to be way too – shall we say “benjamin netanyahu” to put it in obama speak – to stand up for our rights, – so they don’t get a pass on this one, they are equally to blame for this shameful lack of backbone

    don’t they get that these capabilities can be turned back upon themselves?

    seems to me we are edging ever closer to “we had to destroy the republic in order to save it” mind-set.

    lotta good that is going to do us.

  3. This is simply more of the same. When this President took office certain members of Congress pledged to never support anything the President proposed no matter what effect it had on the country, or even if it was originally their proposal. The greatest example of this was when McConnell offered an amendment to a bill, and the President announced he supported it, the amendment was immediately withdrawn. Their behavior borders on treason. This is yet another example.

    1. Yesterday, Mr. Obama noted, “..too many Palestinians have died.” regarding the murder of five people praying in an Israeli synagogue. That is like saying, after a bomb goes off at a black Southern Baptist church on an Easter morning, “Too many Klansmen have died.”

      Obama is a lunatic. Perhaps that is why McConnell or any representative views support from the Dirtbag-In-Chief as anathema.

  4. Only on this sight will one find that somehow Republicans voting for NSA spying is Obama’s fault. The nonsense here is just incredible. If Obama had a cure for cancer the GOP would vote against it.

  5. All constitutions are created equal, heck even slave owning aristocrats who don’t want to pay their taxes can come up with something that looks good on paper and sounds nice when quoted.

    However, when you talk the talk and don’t walk the walk, well then the value of a constitution doesn’t mean much does it? Some intelligent folks will end up calling that a forked tongue and it is something that some of the native Americans were pretty accurate about.

    Once you establish that sort of (lack of) credibility it has a tendency to stick. This certainly is an example of that. Fortunately there are other constitutions that are followed thus establishing the foundation of a free and peace loving civilized world.

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