of the Senate
Judiciary Committee, will introduce the legislation on Tuesday.
Because it does more to clamp down on the data collection exposed
last year by former National Security Agency contractor Edward
Snowden, Leahy's bill was expected to be more attractive to privacy
advocates than a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in
Many American technology companies have also been clamoring for
changes after seeing their international business suffer as foreign
governments worry they might collect data and hand it over to U.S.
The White House has been working closely with lawmakers, privacy
experts and technology companies to secure Senate passage of what it
considers critical legislation, National Security Council spokesman
Ned Price said.
"Chairman Leahy has done remarkable work reflecting the equities of
intelligence professionals while crafting privacy enhancements, and
these efforts have yielded significant progress on issues vital to
those stakeholders," Price said in an email on Monday.
President Barack Obama asked Congress in January to rein in the bulk
collection and storage of records of millions of U.S. domestic
But the bill is not expected to come up for a vote in the Senate
before Congress leaves for a five-week break on Aug. 1, which would
prevent any action before next fall.
The House of Representatives passed the USA Freedom Act in May, but
some privacy advocates and technology companies withdrew support
because they wanted more extensive reforms.
Details of the Leahy bill have not been released.
But people who have seen recent drafts said it would go much further
to reduce bulk collection of intelligence on Americans than the
version that passed the House.
Both the House and Senate measures would keep information out of
National Security Agency computers, but the Senate bill would limit
how much of the data the spy agency could seek.
[to top of second column]
So-called telephone "metadata" documents the numbers involved, when
the calls were made, and how long they lasted. Metadata does not
include the content of the calls.
The NSA had legal authority to collect and hold for five years
metadata for all telephone calls inside the United States. Although
several courts declared the NSA program illegal, Snowden's
revelations caused a political uproar.
Under Leahy's proposal, analysts would have more limitations on the
terms they use to search for information, with large geographical
areas and service providers' names ruled out as "selectors," a
privacy expert said.
The measure also would also create the position of privacy advocate
who would represent the public before the court that oversees the
data collection program.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu, Roberta Rampton, Joseph Menn in San
Francisco; Writing by Doina Chiacu. Editing by Andre Grenon)
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