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Happy Birthday Edward Snowden!

Sunday 21 June marks Edward Snowden’s 32nd birthday. We’re happy to cohost the tumblr CODEPINK made for Snowden to show our appreciation for the extraordinary sacrifices he made so we would know the truth about government spying.

People around the world have already left a birthday message for Edward Snowden – add yours below!

US Patriot Act’s bulk collection provision expires

Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, which authorises bulk collection of phone records, has expired as of 1 June 2015, halting for the time being one of the government’s major tools for mass surveillance.

As EFF notes,

Section 215 now—at least temporarily—reverts to its pre-Patriot Act form, which doesn’t permit any collection of financial or communications records, and requires the Government to provide “specific and articulable facts” supporting a reason to believe that the target is an agent of a foreign power.

Last month, a a three-judge panel in New York ruled that Section 215 does not provide the authority for the bulk collection of domestic phone records.

Journalists, activists and even some politicians widely recognise that Section 215 only became controversial, and therefore subject to reform and expiration, thanks to Edward Snowden’s disclosures of NSA records, generating global debate on the government’s power and how to curb it.

Despite the temporary lapse, the US Senate plans to move forward with a vote this week on the USA Freedom Act, which would move collected phone metadata from government control to that of telecoms.

House of Representatives passes USA Freedom Act

On 13 May, the US House of Representatives passed the latest version of the USA Freedom Act – the most prominent piece of legislation to have been introduced in the US in the wake of the Snowden revelations. The bill has had a long and complicated legislative history that we have traced over the past two years and it still needs to be approved by the Senate. If passed it would end the bulk collection of domestic phone metadata that was the subject of the very first Snowden revelation.

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Video: Edward Snowden appears on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

On 5 April 2015, Edward Snowden made a much-publicised appearance on US satirical news programme Last Week Tonight. John Olvier went to Moscow to interview Edward Snowden and confronted him with vox pops conducted in New York, which show a relatively poor awareness of Edward Snowden’s revelations but a keen appreciation of the value of privacy.

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