U.S. House Moves To Crush NSA Bulk Phone Data Collection In Lopsided 338-88 Vote
"All I know is, these programs expire at the end of this month. They are critically important to keep Americans safe," House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said ahead of the vote. "The House is going to act, and I would hope the Senate would act soon as well."
There's a division among politicians in how to balance civil liberties against the need to protect Americans from terrorist attacks. Republican Senate leaders don't want to give up control in how records are collected, while there are some, such as presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), who want the NSA program to expire.
Getting back to telephone records, as allowed by the Patriot Act, the NSA currently collects millions of phone records from U.S. companies on a daily basis. These records are then stored in a database, and if the NSA suspects any are linked to a terrorist organization, it can receive approval from a judge to search through the records.
If the USA Freedom Act passes, phone records (including numbers, call dates, times, and durations) would be stored by telecoms instead of the government. The NSA could still search them, but would first need a court order that identifies a specific person, account, or address.