The House of Representatives has passed legislation that would curb electronic snooping.
The measure would bar the National Security Agency (NSA) from collecting Americans’ personal online information without a warrant.
It was added on Thursday night to a $570 billion defense spending bill.
The move follows revelations the NSA mass harvested data on telephone calls and snooped on foreign leaders.
“The American people are sick of being spied on,” Congressman Thomas Massie, the amendment’s sponsor, said.
The amendment, added to the defense bill in a 293-123 vote on Thursday, also prohibits the NSA and CIA from accessing commercial technology products, which some politicians have described as a government “backdoor” for snooping.
Leaked documents provided to the Guardian newspaper indicate the NSA intercepted computer network devices such as routers and servers and embedded them with backdoor surveillance tools.
They were then sent to customers around the world.
Technology companies including Google were part of a coalition which urged support for the House provision.
Earlier this year the House passed the USA Freedom Act that would limit the NSA’s bulk data collection and storage of some American landline telephone call records.
But some members of Congress complained that legislation was not strict enough.
The House is expected to pass the defense bill on Friday. But the fate of the spying curbs is unclear, as they have yet to be written into the Senate version of the defense spending bill.
Congress has attempted to restrict government surveillance after revelations last year by fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden showed widespread snooping.
Last year, Edward Snowden – a former NSA contractor – fed a trove of secret NSA documents to news outlets including the Washington Post and the Guardian.
Among other things, the leaks detailed the NSA’s practice of harvesting data on millions of telephone calls made in the US and around the world, and revealed the agency had snooped on foreign leaders.
The revelations have sparked a debate in the US over the appropriate role of the NSA and the extent to which it should be authorized to conduct such broad surveillance.
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