Even when the government conducts secret activities, those ventures have to be funded, and a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives
last night took a swipe at the NSA
’s domestic spying
practices by cutting some of its funding.
According to Ars Technica
, Representatives James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Thomas Massie (R-KY) authored an amendment
to a defense appropriations bill that “none of the funds made available by this Act may be used by an officer or employee of the United States to query a collection of foreign intelligence information acquired under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1881a) using a United States person as an identifier.”
Further, it prohibits the NSA and CIA from mandating that a company “alters its product or service” to allow electronic surveillance.
The amendment passed with a vote of 293 to 193
, and it’s worth noting that it was not split down party lines. 135 Republicans and 158 Democrats voted yes while 94 and 29, respectively, voted no.
There are some exceptions to the ban, but this amendment would appear to be a step in the right direction. It still must pass the Senate before taking effect, too.