OVERNIGHT TECH: Sensenbrenner touts NSA bill to Europeans

THE LEDE: Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) touted his legislation to rein in the National Security Agency's spying powers in a speech to the European Parliament Monday.

Sensenbrenner said the USA Freedom Act, which he co-authored with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), is "the strongest message we can send that innocent people should not be treated as terrorists; that our private lives should be left private; and that the rule of law is neither flexible nor permissive."

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He claimed the NSA has "weakened, misconstrued and ignored the civil liberty protections" of the USA Patriot Act, which he authored in 2001.

Sensenbrenner said the USA Freedom Act purposefully echoes the title of the USA Patriot Act because it would do what the Patriot Act was intended to do— "strike a proper balance between civil liberties and national security." 

The bill would end the NSA's bulk collection of records on all U.S. phone calls, tighten oversight and require more disclosure about its surveillance programs. 

The Senate Intelligence Committee has approved separate legislation that would require more transparency but preserve the NSA's bulk phone record collection.

Sensenbrenner claimed that by advancing the bill, the Intelligence panel "voted for the first time in our country’s history to allow unrestrained spying on the American people."

The GOP lawmaker said the NSA's programs to spy on foreign leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel were conducted under an executive order — not an act of Congress. 

He noted that President Obama said he was not informed of the spying on foreign leaders.

"While I agree that politics stop at the water's edge, if you'll forgive an old Republican one partisan quip, there is no better argument for reform than when surveillance abuses occur unbeknownst to the one man authorized to allow them," he said. 

McCain denies calling for Alexander resignation: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is denying that he called for National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander to resign.

Der Speigel quoted the senator as saying that "of course, they should resign or be fired."

But McCain's office is saying he was not necessarily referring to the NSA director.

"Senator McCain believes that there needs to be accountability for the Snowden leaks, but he is not calling for the resignation of General Alexander, who is retiring soon," a spokesman said in a statement to UPI. 

Did AT&T's CIA deal break the law?: AT&T's agreement to hand over customer call information to the CIA in exchange for payment violated Federal Communications Commission privacy regulations, according to Public Knowledge's Harold Feld. 

The FCC's "CPNI" rules forbid companies from selling customer information without their consent. In a blog post, Feld argues that the rules forbid the AT&T deal with the CIA, which was first reported by The New York Times last week.

"According to the FCC’s rules on the 'use of customer proprietary network information,' all AT&T would arguably need to do is send its customers a notice of the disclosure and ask customers if they want to opt out of their CIA spying program," Feld wrote.

"I advise AT&T customers look closely at next month’s bill. Just in case you want to opt out."

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Three technology experts with ties to the White House are blasting House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) for forcing President Obama's top technology official to testify before Congress.

Members of the Communications Workers of America will join members of the House and Senate this week to call for the passage of legislation giving people the option of using U.S.-based call centers.

The U.S. Postal Service has struck a deal with Amazon to deliver packages on Sundays for the online giant.

 

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