UPDATE: Late changes weaken USA FREEDOM Act; Expected house passage tomorrow sets stage for intense Senate advocacy this summer

UPDATE May 21, 2014 — As widely reported this morning, the USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 3361) — legislation intended to end the Government’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone record data — was substantially changed late yesterday in the House Rules Committee. Sadly, after approval of a constructive bill last week by both the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees, the Rules Committee’s version of the bill that will be voted on tomorrow without further amendment by the full House of Representatives (and very likely approved) has been so substantially weakened at the Administration’s urging that ALA and its coalition partners can no longer affirmatively support the bill.

House passage this week of the new, watered-down version of H.R. 3361 remains an important procedural step, however, because it will shift the debate to the Senate. There, Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy has promised publicly to work to remake it into a true “bulk collection” reform package. ALA and its coalition partners will be working intensively with Chairman Leahy and other Senate supporters to fight for such a measure when it’s taken up by the Judiciary Committee this summer.

We’ll need your help; stay tuned!

About Adam Eisgrau

Adam Eisgrau is a 30-year veteran of Washington legal practice, government service, public and private sector lobbying, and strategic communications and policy consulting. Adam first handled digital copyright matters for ALA from 1995 to 1999 and rejoined the Washington Office in September 2014 as managing director of the Office of Government Relations. His issue portfolio includes copyright, privacy and surveillance, cybersecurity, encryption and data security. Adam received a BA in American Studies from Dartmouth College and his JD from Harvard Law.

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