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Reforming NSA? Congress has three weeks to decide

The seals of the US Cyber Command, the National Secrity Agency and the Central Security Service stand at the entrance to their shared facility in Fort Meade, Maryland on March 13, 2015The future of the US National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone data, revealed by Edward Snowden and declared illegal Thursday by an appeals court, must be decided by Congress by the end of May. – Which NSA programs are at issue? Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, passed after the 9/11 attacks of 2001, forms the legal basis used by the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama to justify the creation of a secret National Security Agency program to scoop up telephone metadata on hundreds of millions of Americans. The government claims that Section 215, which authorizes the FBI to request business records from companies when relevant to a terrorism investigation, can compel private telephone companies to turn over the entirety of their metadata — phone number, time and duration of calls — to the NSA.

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