The Patriot Act has now been replaced and somewhat reformed by the USA Freedom Act. What are the differences between the two, or what will change/continue?
Overall it has limited the prior national security policy. Will this weaken our ability to defend ourselves against terrorism or combat it? That remains to be seen.
1) the bulk phone metadata of Americans, who and when called but supposedly not what was said, moves to storage with telecom companies, instead of with the government as it had been.
2) bulk data can/will still be collected but it is harder for the NSA to get and search the records as they must first get a court order from a special federal court.
3)the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court will be required to declassify some of its decisions and non court reps will be able to argue about privacy rights before this secret court.
4) The ability of the NSA to use roving wiretaps and measures to monitor lone wolf scenarios will continue.
Other issues have not been addressed, like what happens to all the data already collected that is from innocent Americans? Who retains it, for how long, who can share it or access it?
This became a sharply divisive and very political issue. It remains to be seen if Rand Paul got anything out of this to help him achieve his political aspirations.
For more read http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/03/us/politics/senate-surveillance-bill-passes-hurdle-but-showdown-looms.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0