CEI Associate Director of Technology Studies Ryan Radia offered analysis on the expiration of the Patriot Act's Section 215 as the Congressional debate continues:
“Yesterday evening's overwhelming Senate vote to invoke cloture on the USA FREEDOM Act reflects the reality that the American people want the government to stop collecting their phone records in bulk. Now that the government's authority to collect records has expired, it is time for the Senate to pass the USA FREEDOM Act — a bill that would end indiscriminate surveillance of innocent Americans while preserving targeted counter-terrorism authorities.
"Unfortunately, some in the Senate are now pushing amendments to USA FREEDOM that would deny the public access to court opinions regarding surveillance activities, while forcing companies to disclose their privacy practices to federal officials. If the two Houses of Congress cannot agree on legislation this week, the expiration of Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act may prove to be permanent. This outcome means that certain legitimate, narrowly crafted investigative tools might become permanently unavailable to the government.”