House Committee clears bill aimed at curbing government surveillance.
A bill proposing the NSA stops the bulk collection of US phone data has been unanimously backed by the House Judiciary Committee.
The proposed USA Freedom Act curtails the NSA’s bulk collection of telephone calls and storing them for at least five years.
According to the new bill, the call records would instead stay with the telephone companies.
The spy agency would be allowed to collect phone records, but only if the body could convince a judge on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that there was reasonable suspicion that the person was involved in terrorism.
The bill, a revised version of the original USA Freedom Act, is aimed at reining in the NSA’s sweeping powers and represents the first major effort at surveillance reform following the controversy surrounding leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The bill, however, needs to clear several hurdles, including winning the approval of a majority in the full House, as well as backing in the US Senate before it can become a law.
Reuters cited White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden as saying: "We applaud the House Judiciary Committee for approaching this issue on a bipartisan basis.
"The Judiciary Committee-passed bill is a very good first step in that important effort, and we look forward to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence action on it tomorrow."