House legislates curbs on NSA record-gathering

KEN DILANIAN
FILE - This June 6, 2013 file photo shows the sign outside the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md. The House is poised to take the first significant step to change the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of American phone records, a compromise bill that is displeasing many civil liberties activists. The bill, scheduled for a House vote on May 22, 2014, instructs the phone companies to hold the records for 18 months and let the NSA search them in terrorism investigations in response to a judicial order. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has passed a bill to end the National Security Agency's bulk collection of American phone records. It's the first legislative response to the disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and the Senate is expected to take it up. But civil liberties activists and technology companies say the bill doesn't go nearly far enough.

The USA Freedom Act tracks a proposal made in January by President Barack Obama, who said he wanted to end the NSA's practice of collecting the "to and from" records of nearly every American landline telephone call.

The bill requires the phone companies to keep the records for 18 months — something they already were doing— and allows the NSA to search for connections to terrorist plots abroad in response to a court order.