The National Security Agency might be forced into national security letters and executive orders to take information from Americans in the future, following the expiration of several central portions of the Patriot Act.
Deemed a failure by the writer of the act, the Patriot Act has been used and abused by US governments in order to adopt mass surveillance technologies. These technologies include phone tapping and backdoor surveillance on social networks in secret.
The end of the Patriot Act and failed USA Freedom Act might mean the NSA has to look for new ways to gain information, or potentially stop spying on their own people.
It brings an end to decades of spying and surveillance, outed by NSA contractor Edward Snowden in 2013. Even though Snowden is unlikely to receive a hero’s welcome any time soon, it was his actions that pushed Senators, politicians, activist groups and people against the mindless acts passed post-9/11, under the veil of national security.
Even those that supported the Patriot Act when it was first brought into office now look at it with distaste, claiming it failed to deliver any results. Some in Congress still hold onto the act, like Republican Presidential candidate Jeb Bush.
This is great for Americans, but plenty of the surveillance networks set up by the NSA will continue to run in other countries without any change. The US government has a different view on espionage and spying done outside of the US, meaning it is unlikely to see any of the same reforms we’re seeing at home.
That is not good for British citizens, who under The Conservative government face a new wrath of surveillance. The UK Home Secretary Theresa May already revealed plans to bring back the Snooper’s Charter, despite being blocked three times in Parliament.
Add to that the fact PM David Cameron is planning to attack groups or individuals that go against “British values”, it seems like a pretty grim future for the UK’s online protection.