The House of Representatives originally passed the USA Freedom act in an attempt to rein in bulk collection of American phone records by the National Security Agency (NSA). But the act only regulates the NSA's surveillance in the United States, without placing any limits on its excesses elsewhere in the world.
Though the act remains to be passed in the Senate, it represents vital progress for NSA reform that has been much-anticipated for the past year. Under the bill, the National Security Agency's practice of gathering bulk information on calls made by Americans would not be allowed. Instead, it requires the NSA to gain permission from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court before they can collect records of suspects involved in terrorism.
The USA Freedom Act is the US congress’ first move in decades to limit government surveillance. But it is too early to say that the act is a preliminary step in citizens winning back their individual rights, given the powerful support for NSA surveillance in the U.S. revealed by Edward Snowden under the pretext of “national security”. Future NSA reform will be decided by the result of a contest between the U.S. national interest and its citizens’ freedom.
The internet community in the U.S. isn’t satisfied with the new act. The league on reform of government surveillance, which includes Apple, Facebook, and Google, thinks that it has unacceptable loopholes which may still allow bulk collection of internet users’ data.
The American internet community expects the U.S. government to ensure real information freedom and utmost information security, whether out of commitment to internet freedom or for commercial reasons. The NSA's large-scale eavesdropping has apparently undermined customers’ trust in American tech companies. America’s leading role in global technology could be damaged if President Obama fails to support satisfactory principles.
Moreover, the act only regulates NSA surveillance in the United States, without placing any limits on its excesses elsewhere in the world. A broad range of revelations show that NSA is conducting surveillance on leaders of many nations, including China and Germany. It has also been monitoring and intercepting information from state-owned enterprises in China and Saudi Arabia.
The article is edited and translated from 《美国自由法案》,为何“对内不对外”; Source: Beijing News