In a move seen to vindicate whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Senate on Tuesday passed the USA Freedom Act, which will end the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records.
As the Guardian explains, this is the most significant surveillance reform for decades, “a direct result” of Snowden’s revelations to the paper two years ago. “The passage of the USA Freedom Act,” the Guardian states, “paves the way for telecom companies to assume responsibility of the controversial phone records collection program, while also bringing to a close a short lapse in the broad NSA and FBI domestic spying authorities. Those powers expired with key provisions of the Patriot Act at 12.01 am on Monday amid a showdown between defense hawks and civil liberties advocates.”
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Needing only a simple majority to pass, the final tally of the vote showed that 67 senators were in favor of the measure and 32 against.