An NSA spokeswoman declined to comment on the new legislation.
The bill is largely focused on the NSA's domestic data collection and surveillance programs, not as much on its massive overseas efforts. The agency's overseas surveillance programs have raised the ire of many U.S. allies, with the Guardian newspaper reporting in the past week that the U.S. has monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone.
Among the groups voicing support for the USA Freedom Act were digital rights groups Public Knowledge and Demand Progress and tech trade groups the Information Technology Industry Council and the Computer and Communications Industry Association.
The bill represents a growing realization in Congress that the NSA needs to be reined in, said David Segal, Demand Progress' executive director.
"When the Snowden leaks first emerged in June — and after years of disregard for our civil liberties by our own government — it was unclear whether our efforts to rein in the NSA would even find more than a handful of strong allies in Congress," he said by email. With the introduction of the bill, "it is increasingly clear that many in the halls of power are listening to the tens of millions across this country who know that the NSA must be restrained."
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