May 22, 2015

What will happen if the US Senate fails to pass legislation extending the NSA’s mass collection of Americans’ phone records?

The Senate apparently can’t reach an agreement to extend the power of the NSA to collect the phone records of American citizens. Considering the FBI has admitted that not a single significant terrorist act was stopped by this mass collection, I’m not too worried about this. If they fail to pass a bill reauthorizing the practice, will the NSA have to stop sucking up data on all of us, or is there a way for them to get around it?
They'll wind it down and dismantle it, hopefully.
Essentially, if the Senate doesn't renew Section 215 of the so-called "Patriot Act" the NSA will no longer be authorized to collect this data. They will then be forced to stop wholesale collection of peoples' phone records, or they will be acting in a blatantly illegal manner.

An excerpt from the Justice Department memo on this issue:
"After May 22, 2015, the National Security Agency will need to begin taking steps to wind down the bulk telephone metadata program in anticipation of a possible sunset in order to ensure that it does not engage in any unauthorized collection or use of the metadata. NSA will attempt to ensure that any shutdown of the program occurs as close in time as possible to the expiration of the authority, assuming the program has not been reauthorized in some form prior to the scheduled sunset of Section 215. In the event of a lapse in authority and subsequent reauthorization, there will necessarily be some time needed to restart the program."
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