US citizens disturbed by the NSA's domestic spying program may be somewhat relieved by a bill passed by the House of Representatives earlier today.
The USA Freedom Act passed by a whopping majority - 338 to 88 - and aims to put an end to bulk collection of phone records culled from US telecommunication firms.
Instead, the NSA would be required to get records from telecoms themselves, something it could only do with a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order in hand. The USA Freedom Act would also require the agency to use specific search terms when looking for records to better target record searches.
The bill now moves onto the Senate. Advocates hope it's given more teeth, especially given a recent court ruling that the NSA's bulk collection of metadata is illegal and not authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
Some say the USA Freedom Act doesn't go far enough, but call it a step in the right direction. The White House, Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence all support the bill.