In a dramatic showdown on the Senate floor, late Sunday, senator Rand Paul (KY) became the protagonist of one of the most significant political moments in recent years as he railed against the NSA surveillance program known as the ‘Patriot Act.’
The Senate debate period on the Patriot Act pushed beyond the midnight deadline, effectively ending three provisions of that law, including the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection program.
With the program out of commission, law enforcement officials won’t be allowed to get a casual wiretap on all Americans citizens as they have been doing for over a decade. Instead, they will need to get individual warrants to track terror suspects who frequently change communications devices, CNN reports.
The expiration of the Patriot Act was a huge victory for privacy advocates who have called for changes to that program since Edward Snowden first blew the lid off the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs in 2013.
However, the Senate is expected to restore the expiring authorities in the next few days, according to the Huffington Post.
According to the post, the Obama administration and intelligence officials have argued that the programs’ expiration will be the equivalent of playing “Russian roulette” with national security.
But privacy hawks say that concern is overblown, and there are still “multiple avenues by which the government can get the information it needs for counterterrorism investigations.”
Watch Paul’s fiery argument on the senate floor in the video below posted by CNN.
The Patriot Act is dead. Now what?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!