Thompson Supports Bill to End Dragnet Collection of Americans' Phone Data, Add Meaningful Oversight of Surveillance Programs

November 8, 2013
Press Release

BELLEFONTE, PA – U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson today announced his support for H.R. 3361, the USA FREEDOM Act, a bill to restore Americans’ privacy rights by ending the government’s dragnet collection of phone records and requiring greater oversight, transparency, and accountability under National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs.

“This bill is aimed at reworking the PATRIOT Act, to stop NSA’s mass data collection and ensure that the constitutional rights of Americans are protected,” stated Thompson, a member of the bipartisan House Privacy Caucus.

“Congress did not intend for any law to authorize the indiscriminate collection of personal information of Americans,” added Thompson.

H.R. 3361 was introduced with broad bipartisan support. Companion legislation, S. 1599, was recently introduced in the Senate.
“There is a just and legal way to go about preventing terrorism, without violating our individual privacies,” Thompson added. “Congress must use its powers to provide oversight of the NSA and all surveillance activities. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to advance these commonsense improvements and vital protections to our civil liberties.”

Summary of USA Freedom Act (H.R. 3361):

Ends bulk collection of Americans’ communications records.

Requires the government to more aggressively filter and discard information about Americans accidentally collected through surveillance and related programs.

Reforms the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and creates an Office of the Special Advocate (OSA) tasked with promoting privacy interests before the FISA court’s closed proceedings.

Creates new and more robust reporting requirements to ensure that Congress is aware of actions by the FISC and intelligence community as a whole.

Grants the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board subpoena authority to investigate issues related to privacy and national security.

Ends secret laws by requiring the Attorney General to publicly disclose all FISC decisions issued after July 10, 2003 that contain a significant construction or interpretation of law. 

Requires the government to make annual or semiannual public reports estimating the total number of individuals and U.S. persons that were subject to FISA orders authorizing electronic surveillance.