The authorisation to the National Security Agency to access specific records from the data retained by telecommunications companies expired this morning.The senators did not vote on the bill that would modify the art. 215 of the Patriot Act – the anti-terrorism program signed into law after the September 11 attacks – that would allow the so-called ‘metadata’ collection (telephone numbers of both the caller and the receiver, duration of data storage, as for email and SMS), data referring to the communications but not to their contents.
Meanwhile, a new reform bill has become law – the Freedom Act, meant to end the bulk collection of Americans’ metadata, after the scandal noticed by the former contractor of the National Security Agency (NSA). Obama strongly supported the Freedom Act, as most Democrats did. The House of Representatives in a 338-88 vote approved the bill on May 13.
“An irresponsible failure”, this is how the White House commented on the failure to reach a deal on the Patriot Act. The impasse was caused by the initiative of the Republican Rand Paul, presidential candidate and libertarian supporter of the Tea Party, who managed to block the advancement of the measure.
Translation provided by Maria Rosaria Mastropaolo