WASHINGTON, June 3. /TASS/. US President Barack Obama has signed a bill banning the bulk collection of data on electronic communications of Americans, White House press secretary Josh Earnest has said.
The document, called the USA Freedom Act, was passed by the Senate by a 67-32 vote earlier in the day. In May, the bill was approved by the House of Representatives.
In a statement, Obama welcomed the decision of the Congress saying that the document will help "better safeguard the privacy and civil liberties of the American people while ensuring our national security officials retain tools important to keeping Americans safe."
The USA Freedom Act introduces significant restrictions on the programs of surveillance of electronic communications implemented by the National Security Agency (NSA), but does not fully ban them.
The document replaces the Patriot Act that was adopted after the 9/11 attacks and expired on June 1, 2015. The NSA has started scrapping its surveillance programs that have been condemned by human rights activists.
The new legislation envisages a six-month long transition period during which the authority involved in electronic intelligence and counterintelligence should get used to the work in the new conditions.
The reform comes amid the pressure from the public following the revelations made by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. In 2013, Snowden leaked to the media documents revealing details of a global surveillance apparatus run by the NSA in close cooperation with the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.