incredulity quotes are mine.
I'm reading a whole lot of skepticism in these posts, but honestly this sounds a whole lot better than what's been going on for that past 12+ years.
Current proposal would end the bulk collection of metadata, replacing it with the old, more traditionally read and more specifically spelled out FISA standard. That's huge.
A lot of what we've seen since the PATRIOT act has relied on the generous translation of a few murky clauses. In fact, in so many instances of what we consider executive over-stepping of constitutional/legal boundaries, you can bet your bottom dollar they get by on broad interpretation of either poorly-written or intentionally non-specific terminology. And that goes just as much for the Constitution as it does for legislation. It may seem like legislative equivocation just to change a few specific words, but in terms of application, this changes a fair amount.
What I don't like is that it doesn't address the unknowns- what happens to internet metadata? E-mail interception? Website visits? I have the feeling that whatever Snowden's leak didn't address is just as nasty as what it did- and if it wasn't brought into the sunlight, I'm guessing that status quo will be preserved to our detriment.
Also: I'm a bigger fan, it seems, than a lot of people here of Obama, but I really don't like his trend of fixing a problem only after he's exploited it to the full extent of his power. Crackdown on journalists? Yeah, we'll fix that as soon as I'm done cracking down on journalists. Spying directly on allied heads of state? Ditto. Bulk data collection? Yeah, that's bad, lemme fix it as soon as I've gotten a few more phone calls. All of it implies a misplaced confidence on his part in his own powers of executive judgement. I believe that he's incredibly smart, and much more morally-driven than a lot of people give him credit for, but confidence can be its own vice.