House Committee Passes Watered-Down NSA Reform Bill

Google Cheered Bill as 'Modernizing Surveillance'

The House Judiciary Committee today made a token move toward NSA reform with the 25-2 passing of the USA Freedom Act, an even more watered-down version of Sen. Leahy’s (D – VT) reform bill from last year, which was criticized for not doing much to start with.

Though some are presenting the passage as a dramatic blow to the surveillance state, most analysts seem to agree that the bill as ultimately passed is little more than a “diversion” passed to placate privacy groups.

One thing it does do is dramatically expand immunity to private tech companies participating in NSA surveillance schemes, a fact that was no doubt a big factor in Google cheering it for “modernizing surveillance” in the US.

Modernizing, but not stopping. Despite being designed as a reform bill, the bill is not expected to significantly alter the NSA surveillance program, or to offer significant protections to Americans swept up in it.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of