US lawmakers target NSA mass surveillance funding

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US lawmakers target NSA mass surveillance funding

No warrant, no money.

The United States Congress will vote on a funding bill amendment tomorrow that would cut off money for the country's National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct mass surveillance of the public without a warrant.

The amendment to the Defence Appropriations Bill, which allocates funding for armed forces and intelligence activities, was proposed by Republican representative Justin Amash and four others. 

In summary, it "ends authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act. Bars the NSA and other agencies from using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215".

Activist group Demand Progress called the vote on the bill "critical" but noted that the amendment wouldn't actually defund the US spy agency or all of the surveillance it conducts.

The NSA has been under fire since a former employee of the spy agency, Edward Snowden, went public and revealed a massive spy programme that hoovers up metadata such as call records of Americans as well as citizens of other countries.

Additional revelations claimed that internet giants such as Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple and others were cooperating with the NSA, giving the government spies full access to all user data. Some of it was said to be real-time information showing when users logged in and used applications such as instant messaging.

WIth further leaks from Snowden showing the NSA and allied agencies in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand was routinely tapping and intercepting communications worldwide, furore has grown over the indiscriminate mass surveillance, and calls for official inquiries into it are being made.

Despite the anger in the US, Europe and Asia, the NSA last week had its authority to force telcos to produce telephony metadata renewed by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or FISC.

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