Feeds

House of Reps passes FISA bill sans telecom immunity provision

Take that, Bushie

The essential guide to IT transformation

The US House of Representatives on Friday narrowly passed the latest version of a controversial terrorist surveillance bill that defied President Bush's demand that it grant telecommunications companies retroactive immunity for cooperating in past warrantless wiretapping.

By a margin of 213-197, the House passed the measure, known as the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. It updates the 30-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by giving intelligence officers more time to apply for warrants after a wiretap has begun. Democrats and Republicans largely agree the additional flexibility is necessary to keep up with changes in communications.

But the House Democrats have clashed sharply with Republicans over whether telecoms who previously assisted in warrantless wiretaps should be shielded from about 40 lawsuits that allege the cooperation amounted to a breach of individuals' privacy rights.

Congressional members left Washington shortly after the vote for spring break. [Party at Spitzer's house, y'all - Ed] Some lawmakers say the issue may not be resolved until after a new president takes office in January.

The bill also rankles many Republicans because it gives federal inspectors authority to investigate the warrantless surveillance program, which the Bush administration started after the 9/11 attacks. In addition, it would establish a bipartisan commission to examine the activities intelligence agencies took under that program.

The Senate has already passed a FISA measure that includes the retroactive immunity provision, and Senate Republicans have vowed not to compromise on the issue. Bush has also promised to veto any legislation that reaches his desk that doesn't include immunity. On Thursday, he said a vote for the House bill "would make our country less safe."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rebuffed him, saying: "The president is wrong, and he knows that." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.