Tonight some (a small percentage) of the USA Patriot Act was allowed to expire, including the infamous Section 215 which was used (apparently illegally) by the NSA for legal authority for the bulk collection of all telephone metadata of Americans.
This was an outrage, and I’m at least happy about the symbolism of it expiring, and grateful to Rand Paul for his efforts to make that happen.
I had been under the impression that the alternative USA Freedom Act was not a good compromise act (very little actual reform, and further entrenching some of the problematic aspects of the Patriot Act) and I was happy that it didn’t pass unamended by the Senate tonight either (it had already passed the House).
But, Julian Sanchez, who is pretty much the expert on all of this, thinks that it probably would have been better if it had passed than what we’re likely to get otherwise.
I’m hoping that there will be enough popular support for the privacy of innocent citizens, and enough people watching and caring about that and able to resist the cries that respecting the Fourth Amendment makes us unsafe, that what will happen next will be better than the original USA Freedom Act, and that we’ll get actual reform.
It’s hard to say, but I’ll let myself be happy about the current “victory” and hopeful that the momentum will lead to further encouraging results.