U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) released the following statement today after voting in favor of the USA FREEDOM Act, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) that seeks to modify domestic surveillance authorities by ending the government's bulk collection and storage of business records, including telephone "metadata." The legislation would require that the government obtain pre-approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court to conduct a search of call records for targeted phone numbers on a case-by-case basis, except in an emergency:
"This legislation is a positive step toward ensuring privacy for American citizens. It will end bulk data collection by the National Security Agency but stillensure that law enforcement and intelligence officials have the authority needed to protect the homeland.
"As a former prosecutor, I have been an advocate for strong judicial oversight of any program that involves the privacy rights of American citizens -- lack of strong judicial and congressional oversight was the reason why I voted against reauthorization of the Patriot Act a few years ago. We need all three branches of our government involved to prevent the overreach of any one branch. This legislation helps restore that needed balance."