The once secret mass surveillance program exposed by Edward Snowden in 2013 can continue for another five months thanks to a FISA Court ruling and a provision in the Freedom Act.
The United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has ruled in favor of the continuing NSA the mass surveillance program by using a provision in the Freedom Act voted by Congress which stated that the program can continue for another six months but only if the FISA Court approved.
The provision allowed for this sic month period in order to allow intelligence agencies some time to adapt to the change and find a new system working with U.S. phone companies.
After this 6 months period any intelligence agency including the NSA have to ask for permission in order to access phone record and other data from the phone companies. Any future request after the time limit ends has to also be accompanied by an explanation as to why the specific person’s data need to be investigated.
The Presidential Administration has applied for the restart of the program using the provision after only a few days since Barrack Obama signed the Freedom Act.
However the decision to support the continuation of the mass surveillance program did not go unnoticed, FreedomWorks a libertarian advocacy group filed a motion to the FISA Court protesting the decision and explaining that the program no longer had a legal basis.
While the reason for continuing the surveillance program no longer matters, it’s continuation even for a short period left many disappointed and even more outraged.
The mass surveillance program was a secret until ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden made information about it public. Both The Washington Post and The Guardian published what would be the first series of data on the surveillance program in June 2013.
Edward Snowden was charged with federal crimes and now lives in Russia after his passport was cancelled by the U.S. State Department while he awaited to board a plane heading for Havana from Moscow.
Although opinions differ as to the action of Snowden many regard him as a hero. In April an anonymous group installed a statue of him in the Fort Green Park in Brooklyn, but it was quietly taken down by the NYPD only hours later. However statues of Snowden, Assange and Manning reside in Alexanderplatz in Berlin Germany.
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