Senate votes to extend NSA spying program

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The Senate passed an extension of a government surveillance program, sending the bill to President Donald Trump's desk, where he is expected to sign it into law. Senators voted 65-34 on the bill, which includes a six-year extension with minimal changes to the National Security Agency (NSA) program.

The vote comes after a tension-filled hour on the Senate floor earlier the week of Jan 15. Opponents tried, but failed, to mount a filibuster to force additional debate on the legislation, with both sides spotted lobbying key holdouts. Opponents rallied against the bill ahead of Jan 18's vote, arguing the legislation is being rushed through. The law, known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, allows the NSA to collect texts and emails of foreigners abroad without an individualized warrant, even when they communicate with Americans in the U.S. Apart from allowing the continuation of spying operations, critics have raised concerns that the bill also creates a path for the government to resume controversial “about” surveillance — a system for collecting data that mentions a surveillance target, even if it is not sent to or from a target.

Senate votes to extend NSA spying program (The Hill) Senate passes bill to renew controversial NSA spying powers (The Verge)