Rep. Justin Amash introduced a special amendment this week to end the “blanket” collection of U.S. citizen’s phone records by the NSA–the controversial international digital surveillance plan that Edward Snowden revealed to the Guardian newspaper. The amendment, which would have stopped the flow of federal funds to the NSA for this purpose, was defeated by a vote of 217 nays and 205 yeas.
The discussion on the floor was heated and complex, with supporters of the surveillance arguing the project had helped defeat terrorist plots, and saying it only collected metadata, not phone calls. Detractors argued that there is no distinction between terrorist data and innocent citizens in the information collected.
We’ve observed before that U.S. politicians aren’t always the most technically or scientifically aware. Do you feel the “nay” voters fully understand the technological implications of being able to reconstruct intimate user data patterns from the “metadata” the NSA collects?