The US Senate voted on a bill that would heavily reform the NSA’s methods of data collecting and the protection of privacy in the United States.
The USA FREEDOM ACT was to “rein in the dragnet collection by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies, increase transparency of the Foreign intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests, and to create an independent constitutional advocate, to argue cases before the FISC.” 
The Freedom Act didn’t pass through the Senate, by two votes. Two votes is all we needed to ease some of the power the NSA has had unchecked since at least 2001.
This bill came as a result of the Patriot Act of 2001 which passed following the 9/11 attacks. At the time it was seen as a response to the threat of “terrorism and attacks on America.” Some could say this was a kneejerk reaction. The USA PATRIOT ACT gave intelligence agencies almost unlimited power to collect data, via phone records, Internet records and more.
In fact the main purpose of the Patriot Act:
To deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. 
There are many controversies involving the PATRIOT ACT, however that would be a book unto itself. The point of the Freedom Act was to limit the power of the NSA and the secret laws created by FISA courts, brought to light by the Edward Snowden leaks of 2013.
From an opinion piece Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman James Sensenbrenner wrote about why the Freedom Act needed to be established:
The intelligence community has failed to justify its expansive use of [the FISA and Patriot Act] laws. It is simply not accurate to say that the bulk collection of phone records has prevented dozens of terrorist plots. The most senior NSA officials have acknowledged as much in congressional testimony. We also know that the FISA court has admonished the government for making a series of substantial misrepresentations to the court regarding these programs. As a result, the intelligence community now faces a trust deficit with the American public that compromises its ability to do its job. It is not enough to just make minor tweaks around the edges. It is time for real, substantive reform. 
Ironically Sensenbrenner introduced the PATRIOT ACT in 2001. It would seem that Dr. Frankenstein lost control of his monster and wanted to reign him in again. The Freedom Act was to establish an end to the bulk records collections made by the PRISM programs. While it may not have ended the holdings completely, it would have at least left the records with the telecom and made it harder for the NSA to get their hands on them.
So why vote against something that would have kept your information from being cherry-picked by the NSA or abused by others?
Well Senators Susan Collins and Saxby Chambliss believe that,
Even though the data is already in the hands of telecoms, the claim would be that the date would be safer in the hands of the NSA. If the telecoms only had this data would, in fact lead to more privacy violations. Another point that (supposedly) was made that 22 people, 22 people in the NSA would have it. 
Now you tell me reader: do you really believe that only 22 people would have access to all that data, or that nobody would “modify” the law to make exceptions?
Perhaps the biggest face palm was Mitch McConnell’s reasoning. According to the Guardian:
Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, sharply warned that the USA Freedom Act, which, if passed, would be the first law to constrain the National Security Agency in decades, would cripple US intelligence against the Islamic State (Isis) in Iraq and Syria.“This is the worst possible time to be tying our hands behind our back,” said McConnell, who will become majority leader in January. 
What does this mean? Haven’t the intelligence agencies of America grown too large in power?
We now live in a country where your every move could be watched and recorded and put somewhere in a data sheet. More and more leaks have revealed what happens when surveillance takes precedence over human liberty in the name of security.
Who’s security are we even thinking about? Seriously, one of the main failures of all the programs that have risen from the Patriot Act is the failure to capture any known “terrorist” or “terrorist act.” The leaks that Snowden and others provided make this insight into the Patriot Act very disturbing.
If that is true than the Patriot Act, born from webs of lies and based in fear, has no reason to exist. The Patriot Act has been the basis of maintaining strict government control and expansive knowledge of what the American people are doing. The Patriot Act has been abused countless times in the name of “Security and Freedom.”
So why do we hold ourselves hostage to an act that serves no real purpose? Why do we allow our civil rights be chipped away in the name of “democracy?”
Content posted to MyMPN open blogs is the opinion of the author alone, and should not be attributed to MintPress News.