U.S. House passes bill to renew NSA internet spying tool
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U.S. House passes bill to renew NSA internet spying tool

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The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill to renew the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance programme, overcoming objections from privacy advocates and confusion prompted by morning tweets from President Donald Trump that initially questioned the spying tool. The legislation, which passed 256-164 and split party lines, is the culmination of a years-long debate in Congress on the proper scope of US intelligence collection - one fuelled by the 2013 disclosures of classified surveillance secrets by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Senior Democrats in the House had urged cancellation of the vote after Trump appeared to cast doubt on the merits of the programme, but Republicans forged ahead. Trump initially wrote on Twitter that the surveillance programme, first created in secret after September 11, 2001, attacks and later legally authorised by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), had been used against him but later said it was needed.

Some conservative, libertarian-leaning Republicans and liberal Democrats attempted to persuade colleagues to include more privacy protections. They failed on Thursday to pass an amendment to include a requirement for a warrant before the NSA or other intelligence agencies could scrutinize communications belonging to an American whose data is incidentally collected. Thursday’s ...

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