House passes amendment to cut NSA’s ‘backdoor search’ funding
Following a push from several Representatives, the House has pushed through an amendment — tagged on to the Fiscal Year 2015 Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 4870) — to stop at least some of the surveillance programs at the National Security Agency. Mark Rumold, a lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said “the House of Representatives took an important first step in reining in the NSA.” On Monday, Representative Justin Amash said the bill was a chance to stop the security agency’s “unconstitutional spying on Americans.” The backdoor searches that the amendment would stop includes emails, browsing and chat history, which can currently be parsed and searched without a warrant. The amendment would curb this in two ways: it would cut off funding for the search of government databases for information on US citizens while also prohibiting both the NSA and CIA from requiring “backdoors” in online services and products. It’s not a done deal just yet: now that it’s passed the House, it needs to go through the Senate before it can become a reality.