On February 21, 2008, US President George W. Bush called for an extension of the Protect America Act, including a provision of retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies involved in the National Security Agency (NSA) warrantless surveillance program. The law's expiration followed months of debate in both houses of Congress, including a House version of the bill which did not include the immunity passed by the Senate. The civil immunity provision was created in response to more than 40 lawsuits filed against US telecommunications companies that participated in the wiretapping program. Telecom immunity was ultimately passed and rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed lawsuits challenging the law.
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