US lawmaker makes 10-hour speech opposing renewal of bulk data-collection

Presidential hopeful Rand Paul receives support from both sides of political divide

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US lawmaker makes 10-hour speech opposing renewal of bulk data-collection Paul: We shouldn't be so fearful that we're willing to relinquish our rights without a spirited debate. (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  May 21, 2015

A US senator spoke for almost 10 hours yesterday in opposition of spy agencies' controversial mass collection of private phone data, Reuters reported.

Kentucky Republican Rand Paul, who is running for his party's presidential nomination, gave his speech during a Senate debate on renewal of legislation that allowed organisations such as the National Security Agency to gather huge troves of meta data. As Paul's 10-and-a-half-hour talk progressed, he was joined by other lawmakers, including another Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, and Democrat Ron Wyden.

"We shouldn't be so fearful that we're willing to relinquish our rights without a spirited debate," Paul said.

The news comes within hours of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak referring to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden as "a hero". Snowden turned whistleblower in 2013 when he passed classified documents to reporters about NSA activity. He has long defended his decision by insisting that the surveillance was unconstitutional.

In December 2013, Federal Judge Richard Leon declared the NSA's mass collection of meta-data to be in violation of the US Constitution's fourth amendment, which gives protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Leon used the phrase "almost Orwellian" to describe the spy agency's activities and suggested James Madison, the fourth US president and the Constitution's principle author, would be "aghast" at the covert surveillance.

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