Senate approves 5 more years of warrantless wiretapping

Man on phone
Obama is expected to approve the extension of warrant-free surveillance

On Friday, the Unites States Senate voted 73 to 23 in favor of approving an extension to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act of 2008.

Created under the Bush administration, the FISA Amendment allowed the government to use surveillance techniques such as wiretaps without warrants in the name of counter-terrorism.

Friday's vote re-upped the policy for another five years under what is known as the FAA Sunsets Extension Act of 2012.

After passing through the House earlier in 2012, and now having made its way through the Senate, the extension will now be passed along to President Obama, who is expected to sign off with his full approval.

No fans of FISA

The FISA Amendment has had its share of detractors over the years, and even before being approved by the Senate, there were groups advocating for some amendments to the existing policies.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation attempted to get the word out about several of these amendments, but it appears as if the group's efforts were of no avail, as each was denied on the Senate floor.

Other rights advocate groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, are continuing to fight the constitutionality of the FISA Amendment in the Supreme Court. However, at this point, the National Security Agency has proven uncooperative in handing over pertinent information.

The most disappointing factor, outside of the extension being passed at all, is that by allowing this to continue unabated for the next five years, more in-depth conversations about the government's surveillance methods can't be held until 2017 at the earliest.

Via The Verge