Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.

The U.S. Senate voted to approve the ill-named USA Freedom Reauthorization Act – otherwise known as the Patriot Act — renewing the federal government’s powers to spy on suspected terrorists and the troubled FISA court.

But this time, lawmakers promise, there are safeguards in place. Uncle Sam won’t be nearly as prone to spy on American citizens.

Except the Senate – by a single vote – continued to allow the FBI to spy on your internet browsing history without a warrant.

A bipartisan amendment would have:

…expressly forbidden internet browsing and history from what the government is allowed to collect through the approval of a secret court. Currently, there is no such provision, which means there’s nothing stopping the government from doing so. The government has an established history of using this method to collect certain types of data about millions of Americans without their knowledge.

Again, this proposal failed by a single vote. Among those Senators who were not present (and not voting:

Four senators—Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) missed the vote. The amendment would have passed if any of them had voted “yes.”

The Senate did approve an amendment from Utah Sen. Mike Lee that would:

…appoint a friend of the court with “privacy and civil liberties expertise” to participate in some of the court’s secretive deliberations. This person would ensure that the court considers pro-privacy arguments and would have the opportunity to seek the declassification of significant court rulings. The Senate approved that change by a generous 77-19 margin.

One step forward, one step back.