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Crime, Law & Justice

President Obama Signs Freedom Act; Senator Wyden Praises Passage

President Barack Obama has signed the USA Freedom Act into law, just hours after Congress sent it to his desk. Oregon's U.S. Senator Ron Wyden praised passage of the Freedom Act, which changes how the government can conduct surveillance and gather data, which was put in place under the Patriot Act.

On Tuesday, Sen. Wyden said it is not an exaggeration to say passage of the Freedom Act is the most significant victory for Americans' privacy rights in more than a decade. The Democrat said Americans do not need to sacrifice their liberty to have security.

Sen. Wyden: "This program to collect the phone records of millions and millions of U.S. citizens was hatched in secret, depending on a secret interpretation of the law that Americans were not allowed to see. I have spent nearly a decade fighting mass surveillance, first working to bring this secret dragnet to light and then working to bring it to an end. 

The fight to protect Americans’ constitutional rights against government overreach is not over.  I’m committed to plugging the backdoor search loophole that the government uses to review Americans’ communications without a warrant, to beat back efforts to build security weaknesses into our electronic devices and to require the government to get a warrant before tracking Americans’ movements electronically.  Everybody who has supported our fight for surveillance reform over the last two years is responsible for our victory today and I’m looking forward to joining all of you for more victories in the future.” 

Sen. Wyden has long been an outspoken critic of the secrecy of mass surveillance. A final vote on the bill came late Tuesday after amendments failed. It passed the Senate 67-32.

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