The Patriot Act has expired: Enjoy your phone call, now temporarily NSA-free
In a win for privacy activists and a potential setback for the NSA, the Patriot Act has temporarily expired on Sunday night. The Senate will most likely restore the provisions of the Patriot Act midweek, but until then, here's what is different without them:
The NSA can't collect telephone metadata on Americans and store it for five years.
Law enforcement officials can't get roving wiretaps on terror suspects who frequently change communication devices. Instead they will need to get an individual warrant for each new device.
The government can't use national security tools against "lone world" terror suspects who aren't proven to be linked to a foreign terrorist group such as ISIS.
Last week Attorney General Loretta Lynch stated that the US would face a "serious lapse" in national security without the Patriot Act in place. But critics of the Patriot Act are skeptical and are concerned that fears over national security are threatening basic civil liberty and privacy rights.
The House passed the USA Freedom Act, which would make substantial changes to the provision regarding telephone metadata collection, but leave the other two provisions the same. The bill would require telephone companies to hold Americans' telephone metadata and the government would need a specific warrant to have access to any of it. The government also wouldn't be allowed to collect information on millions of people - only specific individuals.