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Individuals at the headquarters of the National Security Agency. Photo: Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images

The House voted Thursday to renew a major surveillance law hours after the president partially walked back a tweet criticizing the bill.

Why it matters: The law expires next week, and the Senate has yet to take the issue up. President Trump's tweet has now raised the profile of the debate over the law — which privacy advocates say picks up the communications of American citizens without a warrant.

The details:

  • The bill approved by the House on Thursday extends a law known as Section 702 — one part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — for six years. It also contains provisions that critics say will open the door to restarting searches based simply on whether a target is mentioned in collected communications. The vote was 256-164.
  • An amendment that would have limited the program — and helped to appease privacy advocates — failed to pass the House.
  • Section 702 is used to justify the digital surveillance of foreign nationals located abroad, though privacy activists say that programs operated under the law also gather the communications of American citizens.

The intrigue: Trump's tweet criticizing the law on Thursday morning roiled the debate ahead of the vote because the White House had already said he supported the bill. He walked it back two hours later, saying that "today’s vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land. We need it! Get smart!"

What's next?: The Senate still has to vote to reauthorize the law — and the clock is ticking.

This story has been updated to clarify the description of the surveillance law.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
50 mins ago - Health

Public health messaging lessons for the next pandemic

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

"Be first, be right, be credible" is the mantra of public health experts in a crisis. It's difficult to argue that the health community has regularly managed to be any of those three during COVID-19.

Why it matters: A pandemic isn't just a medical emergency — it's also a communications emergency. The U.S. public health establishment, hamstrung by bad data and political interference, has struggled with the latter.

How Hertz is fighting to stay relevant

A Hertz car rental counter in the Miami International Airport. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In the span of less than a week, Hertz has made three big strategic moves intended to keep the car rental giant from fading into oblivion.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing and other mobility innovations are rapidly changing the way people get from A to B, posing an existential threat to traditional car rental services.

Facebook is too big to change

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Facebook faces a sustained wave of critical coverage pushing the company to reform itself, it also confronts a law of corporate physics: Transforming a gargantuan company is nearly impossible.

The big picture: Facebook's critics — and some of its own employees, as internal documents have shown — say it has long prioritized growth and profits over safety. Shifting that kind of mindset in a large organization takes time and will — and the company has to really want it, which Facebook has yet to make clear.