The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 11-4 on Wednesday to pass the FISA Improvements Act, a bill that seeks to codify government surveillance techniques and bring the covert activity under more regulation. The new rules, according to Politico, turn court-imposed limits into statutory requirements, adds a five-year retention limit to collected data, and requires every database query to be accompanied by explicit reasoning. It would also make the appointments of the National Security Agency's director and inspector general subject to Senate confirmation.
In addition, "While Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court proceedings never involve the targets of surveillance, Feinstein’s bill would allow the court to appoint lawyers to argue for the privacy rights of those affected."
The bill does, however, retain the NSA's massive phone metadata collection program, rationalized by section 215 of the Patriot Act, as well as allowing surveillance on foreigners entering the United States to continue for 72 hours, or longer with the permission of the attorney general.
Other parts of the bill impose penalties for failing to adhere to regulations, including up to ten years in prison for unauthorized access of data acquired under FISA, and the necessitation that all violations of law or executive order by intelligence agencies be reported to Congress.