There’s more Orwellian double-speak in action in Congress.
On Wednesday, the House passed the USA Freedom Act 338-88. As is always the case in the District of Corruption, the new law does exactly the opposite of what its name purports.
The bill overturns the recent ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that National Security Agency bulk telephone metadata collection exceeded what was authorized in the so-called USA Patriot Act. The misnamed Freedom Act actually expands the statutory basis for the large-scale collection of most data.
Now phone companies have to hold, search and analyze the data at government’s request. The Freedom Act authorizes the government to order phone companies to turn over records based upon a “specific selection term.” Think of it as using a search term in a search engine.
A non-specific term can turn up a vast amount of unrelated data that will find its way into the NSA’s computers. In short, it casts an even wider net than the one the NSA was using without authorization, but now it’s an “authorized” net. For more on why the bill is bad, read this synopsis by Rep. Justin Amash, one of the few who stood for the Constitution during the vote.