Having previously passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, the USA FREEDOM Act has now also passed the Senate and been signed into law by President Obama. A few highlights from the legislation are below. Keep an eye out for our analysis to come in a later post.
The USA FREEDOM Act:
- Prohibits bulk collection of business records under Section 215 (in accordance with the recent Second Circuit decision) and under the FISA pen register/trap and trace provisions by requiring the government to use a “specific selection term”;
- Prohibits bulk collection under the guise of national security letters (NSLs);
- Codifies the ability of recipients of FISA orders and NSLs to issue public transparency reports and disclose the quantities of process received within certain defined bands;
- Establishes a body of five individuals to serve as amicus curiae before the FISA Court for matters presenting a novel or significant interpretation of the law;
- Requires the Director of National Intelligence to conduct a declassification review of orders issued by the FISA Court which include a significant construction or interpretation of any provision of law, and to make those opinions publicly available to the extent feasible; and
- Creates additional reporting requirements to increase transparency regarding the use of FISA authorities.
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