The Senate has voted to temporarily extend several key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, the nation’s primary counterterrorism surveillance law. Lacking a filibuster-proof majority, Senate Democrats decided against adding new privacy protections to the provisions, which had been scheduled to expire at the end of February.
The bill, which was approved on a voice vote with no debate, will extend for one year three important sections of the USA PATRIOT Act.
If endorsed by the House, the legislation would continue to allow investigators to require third parties to provide them access to a suspect’s personal records without their knowledge. It would also enable the government to utilize roving wiretaps to monitor phone lines and internet accounts that a terrorism suspect may be using, according to Main Justice.
Finally, the bill would allow the government to track a suspect without advanced knowledge of the target’s affiliation with a foreign power or international terrorist organization.
Democratic supporters of the extensions believe that they may protect the Obama administration from Republican criticism that they are too soft on terrorism, according to MSNBC.