Obama Proposes NSA Bulk Collection Reform, Congress Is Next Step

Obama Proposes NSA Bulk Collection Reform, Congress Is Next Step

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"I recognize that people were concerned about what might happen in the future with that bulk data," says President Obama.

The Snowden reveals have exposed, month after month, the lengths to which intelligence agencies will go to collect data. President Obama has now proposed reforms, aimed at putting an end to the bulk collection of telephone data, to address some of those concerns. The President has asked Congress to expedite legislation to end the bulk collection of telephone records; if all goes according to plan, the legislation is to pass within the next three months.

"I have decided that the best path forward is that the government should not collect or hold this data in bulk," the President said in a statement. "Instead, the data should remain at the telephone companies for the length of time it currently does today." Under this plan, phone companies would hold the data, and only turn it over if an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court compelled it. Any information obtained would be reviewed by FISA to ensure it is reasonable and related to an "articulable suspicion"; the inquiry would operate under an "ongoing and prospective basis," with a time limit to be determined by new legislation. The articuable suspicion guideline is key; it would replace the current Patriot Act guideline, which specifies relevance to an ongoing terror investigation.

"I am confident that this approach can provide our intelligence and law enforcement professionals the information they need to keep us safe while addressing the legitimate privacy concerns that have been raised," says Obama.

Congress is under the gun to produce legislation to fit the administration's ask. It has 430 days left to find a way to meet Obama's needs while at the same time answering all the questions left unanswered, most notably the time limit issue. Meanwhile the Obama administration has asked for current measures to be extended another 90 days, to maintain its counterterrorism capability until a new program is ready to replace it.

Administration spokespeople have yet to address the issue of the NSA's current store of data, the full extent of which is unknown but thought to include tens of millions of phone numbers and other information. Snowden, if he ever shows his face in the US again, faces felony charges.

Source: Guardian

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This seems... reasonable? ish? Keeping the records with the service provider and then requiring authorization to obtain seems closer to what law enforcement have to go through to get records anyway, although the wording on "articulable suspicion" could use some clarification. Is that just intelligencespeak for probable cause?

Kuredan:
This seems... reasonable? ish? Keeping the records with the service provider and then requiring authorization to obtain seems closer to what law enforcement have to go through to get records anyway, although the wording on "articulable suspicion" could use some clarification. Is that just intelligencespeak for probable cause?

According to Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Articulable_suspicion ),

"Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard of proof in United States law that is less than probable cause, the legal standard for arrests and warrants, but more than an "inchoate and unparticularized suspicion or 'hunch.'"

Basically, if a police officer has a reason to suspect you are involved in criminal activity, they are allowed to briefly detain and frisk you. An example I saw was if you were seen holding a coat hangar and walking around a parking lot late at night looking in the windows.

I am so burnt from all these surveillance shenanigans. The general consensus from a few seem to imply that this does not fix anything.

You're missing the best part of this one. The President is talking about taking a legislative approach to ending it, but it was literally just up for review with the FISA, and all it would take to kill it is not asking for it to be renewed...

Instead, we get this: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140327/07013326704/obama-still-asking-fisa-court-to-renew-bulk-phone-collection.shtml

What a bunch of hypocrites. When the NSA spies on the people they're all fine with it. But when it's revealed that they also spy on the Senate and Congress everyone loses their minds.

If there's one man I trust to lead reform of this program, it's the one who endorsed it and kept it secret from us for years and has shown not the slightest hesitance about its overreach until politically convenient.

Adam Jensen:
What a bunch of hypocrites. When the NSA spies on the people they're all fine with it. But when it's revealed that they also spy on the Senate and Congress everyone loses their minds.

Also when China spies on US companies it's a scandal with people calling for trade restrictions etc.

But when the US spies on companies and people of just about every nation, it's business as usual.

I have no faith in any legislation around the NSA. The practise was illegal in the first place, but companies willingly complied and the President endorsed it and didn't do anything about its activities until they came to light. It doesn't matter what's legal, only what's technologically practical.

yeah how about you prosecute over the rules that have been broken already before making new ones for them to ignore.

'It has 430 days left'
I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that's more than three months... hell, that sounds more like... fourteen months...?

This is good news. Let's hope it gets through. Personsly I would prefer it was nor recorded at all and just the number called and time was kept, the police can always tap the line later if needed as long as they can show evidence of criminal activity.

MeChaNiZ3D:
I have no faith in any legislation around the NSA. The practise was illegal in the first place, but companies willingly complied and the President endorsed it and didn't do anything about its activities until they came to light. It doesn't matter what's legal, only what's technologically practical.

Actually bulk collection isn't illegal. The practice was broadly (or illegally) applied and misused but the legal basis of the practice itself is/was still sound; I'm not speaking to the ethics. Just because you don't like it or think it should violate the constitution, doesn't make it illegal. I mean I hate to go all rules as written, but legality is what we decide it to be. If you want to blame anyone, blame the legislators that decided all of this was legal in the first place.

Here is the truth of the matter

This article, compiled by legal director Cindy Cohn and legislative analyst Mark M. Jaycox, was originally published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on March 25.

"Today we learned that the Obama Administration and the House Intelligence Committee are both proposing welcome and seemingly significant changes to the mass telephone records collection program. Both the Obama Administration and the Intelligence Committee suggest that mass collection end with no new data retention requirements for telephone companies. This is good news, but we have not seen the details of either. And details, as we have learned, are very important in assessing suggested changes to the National Security Agency's mass spying.

But comparing what we know, it appears that the Obama Administration's proposal requires significantly more judicial review - not just reviewing procedures, but reviewing actual search requests - so it's preferable to the Intelligence Committee's approach.

Yet a new legislative proposal isn't necessary here. There is already a bill ending bulk collection. It's called the USA FREEDOM Act by Judiciary Committee chairs Senator Patrick Leahy and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner. It's a giant step forward and better than either approach floated today since it offers more comprehensive reform, although some changes are still needed. We urge the Administration and the Intelligence Committees to support the USA FREEDOM.

Or better still, we urge the Administration to simply decide that it will stop misusing section 215 of the Patriot Act and section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act and Executive Order 12333 and whatever else it is secretly relying on to stop mass spying. The executive branch does not need Congressional approval to stop the spying; nothing Congress has done compels it to engage in bulk collection. It could simply issue a new executive order requiring the NSA to stop.

Also, the Obama Administration does not go beyond the telephone records programs, which are important, but are only a relatively small piece of the NSA's surveillance and, by itself, won't stop mass surveillance. We continue to believe that comprehensive public review is needed through a new Church Committee to ensure that all of the NSA's mass surveillance is brought within the rule of law and the Constitution. Given all the various ways that the NSA has overreached, piecemeal change is not enough."

Obama will definitely reform the NSA... right after he gets around to closing Gitmo.

Obama's such a hypocrite. He was complaining about Bush's wiretapping under the Patriot Act, but then he goes and makes Bush look like an amateur when it comes to invading people's privacy.

I bet Obama or the Democrats will insert some poison pill aspect of the reform bill that Republicans would balk at, like including a massive tax hike or a spending billion dollars to do something unrelated to the NSA. Then, they get to go around blaming the Republicans for "not wanting to reform the NSA" when they vote against it.

So... intelligence agency is out of control and not playing by the rules. solution: more rules. How does this seem like a good idea?
For the same reason being a whistleblower is so dangerous: the government already knew about the problem and were fine with it.
You can't just pass a new law or fire a few executives to fix problems like this. It's a company culture thing. if you want to fix it, burn the whole thing to the ground and flush the ashes down the toilet, then set up something new with new people, decent oversight and make it safer for someone to blow the whistle if they feel the situation is out of control. you know... if that's what you want...

Kuredan:

MeChaNiZ3D:
I have no faith in any legislation around the NSA. The practise was illegal in the first place, but companies willingly complied and the President endorsed it and didn't do anything about its activities until they came to light. It doesn't matter what's legal, only what's technologically practical.

Actually bulk collection isn't illegal. The practice was broadly (or illegally) applied and misused but the legal basis of the practice itself is/was still sound; I'm not speaking to the ethics. Just because you don't like it or think it should violate the constitution, doesn't make it illegal. I mean I hate to go all rules as written, but legality is what we decide it to be. If you want to blame anyone, blame the legislators that decided all of this was legal in the first place.

I was referring more to the invasion of privacy, especially in regards to non-US citizens, but you have a good point.

 

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