Feeds

Congress passes crackdown on NSA surveillance

New rules would put restrictions on budget use

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The US House of Representatives has passed a measure aimed at limiting the NSA's ability to access personal data and conduct surveillance.

The House on Thursday voted to approve an amendment to the 2015 Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 4870) seeking to prevent warrantless collection of data from government databases as well as the tampering with equipment for surveillance.

The amendment, put forward by Thomas Massie (R-KY) as well as Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) would declare that that no funds in the budget could be used for controversial 'Section 702' mass data collection under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and would prevent government agencies from forcing individuals and companies to equip products with 'backdoor' mechanisms for surveillance.

The 'Section 702' provision has been the controversial measure used to pull large collections of data from telecommunications firms, while the forced implementation of surveillance backdoors was alleged at firms such as RSA.

"There's no question Americans have become increasingly alarmed with the breadth of unwarranted government surveillance programs used to store and search their private data," the three representatives said of the amendment.

"By adopting this amendment, Congress can take a sure step toward shutting the back door on mass surveillance."

The House approved the amendment late Thursday with a 293-123 vote. The Department of Defense Appropriations Act itself is still awaiting approval by the House and will then be passed on to the Senate for consideration.

Following the vote, the Electronic Frontier Foundation applauded the move, which they say will help protect the privacy of Americans.

"The House voted overwhelmingly to cut funding for two of the NSA's invasive surveillance practices: the warrantless searching of Americans' international communications, and the practice of requiring companies to install vulnerabilities in communications products or services," said staff attorney Mark Rumold.

"We applaud the House for taking this important first step, and we look forward to other elected officials standing up for our right to privacy." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.