House legislates curbs on NSA record-gathering

WASHINGTON — The House has passed a bill to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of American phone records. It’s the first legislative response to the disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, and the Senate is expected to take it up. But civil liberties activists and technology companies say the bill doesn’t go nearly far enough.

The USA Freedom Act tracks a proposal made in January by President Barack Obama, who said he wanted to end the NSA’s practice of collecting the “to and from” records of nearly every American landline telephone call.

The bill requires the phone companies to keep the records for 18 months — something they already were doing— and allows the NSA to search for connections to terrorist plots abroad in response to a court order.