U.S. lawmakers have introduced about 20 bills aimed at reforming the NSA surveillance process, with the USA Freedom Act attracting 135 co-sponsors between its two versions in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Many NSA critics are pinning their hopes to that bill, with chief sponsors including Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican and author of the 2001 antiterrorism bill, the Patriot Act.
Some defenders of the NSA programs didn't respond to requests for comments. Attorney Nick Ackerman, who focuses on computer and privacy issues at the Dorsey and Whitney law firm in New York, said he disagrees with Leon's opinion that the NSA phone records program violates the U.S. Constitution because it doesn't collect the content of the calls.
Still, following the Obama board's report, Ackerman expects some changes in the NSA programs.
"NSA may not be the one gathering the records that will remain with the phone companies until needed, but the government will still have the capability to use the information when it can show before the FISA court it has a specific need," he said in an email. "Forcing the government to be specific in each instance will likely make the program more cost effective and efficient."
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.