President Obama signs bill to extend warrantless phone tapping until 2017

Late last week, the US Senate passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Reauthorization Act that would authorize phone surveillance of Americans without a warrant for counter-terrorism purposes for the next five years. The bill then moved onto the Oval Office, where President Obama signed it last night, officially putting the bill into action.

The president has long been expected to sign the bill, so we're certainly not surprised by the official passing of the bill. He said earlier this year that that his administration "strongly" supported the House bill and its ability to "ensure the continued availability of this critical intelligence capability."

A number of proposed amendements that would have required greater government transparency and a quicker expiration of the program were shot down, though. While the bill does not allow the government to specifically target any individual American citizen, the longstanding problem of innocent citizens' communication records being swept up and reviewed without a warrant continues to be a concern for many.

The President's signature of the bill extension comes after a Senate vote last week that saw a vote of 73 to 23, where almost all Republicans favored the bill, with most Democrats also supporting the bill. Previously, the House of Representatives passed the bill with a vote of 301 to 118, with a larger number of both Republicans and Democrats supporting the bill.

[via The Hill]

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