Obama to announce plans for NSA reforms this Friday

By on January 13, 2014, 9:30 AM
nsa, obama, privacy, surveillance, national security agency, edward snowden

US President Barack Obama will announce his highly anticipated plans for NSA reforms on January 17, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the report, the President will likely call for a mix of executive actions and measures that would require congressional approval.

The depth of reforms will depend on the NSA review panel's proposals that the President decides to adopt. As per the report, Mr. Obama is expected to give a green signal to three of the panel's recommendations.

The review panel recommends that the United States of America should extend to non-Americans the protections of the Privacy Act of 1974. This is an important recommendation, especially in the wake of worldwide outrage after reports of NSA spying on foreign nationals surfaced.

Another recommendation proposes the creation of a privacy advocate to argue before the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. As of now, the court approves requests for surveillance based only on arguments from the government's perspective.

The third recommendation that's likely to get the presidential nod is related to restructuring of the phone-data program. It proposes that the database of information collected through surveillance programs should be held by the phone companies or a third party. Currently all the data is stored by the National Security Agency in its database.

Apart from these, the review panel proposed many other important recommendations including ending the practice by the FBI of demanding data through "national security letters" without any judicial approval.

It could or could not be a major overhaul. But one thing is for sure, it will be a victory for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who wanted an open debate on the surveillance issue.




User Comments: 12

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MilwaukeeMike said:

The review panel recommends that the United States of America should extend to non-Americans the protections of the Privacy Act of 1974. This is an important recommendation, especially in the wake of worldwide outrage after reports of NSA spying on foreign nationals surfaced.

Since when do non-Americans get protections granted under American law? They don't have to pay tax and they don't have to follow American laws, but now we're going give them American rights? Yeah, I know the NSA was spying on other countries, but that is their job after all.

Another recommendation proposes the creation of a privacy advocate to argue before the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. As of now, the court approves requests for surveillance based only on arguments from the government's perspective.

On the surface this sounds like someone might be stopping the courts from granting privileges to the govt to spy on Americans, but since it's the 'Foreign' Intelligence Surveillance Court, I'm going to guess that it does nothing to protect Americans at all.

The third recommendation that's likely to get the presidential nod is related to restructuring of the phone-data program. It proposes that the database of information collected through surveillance programs should be held by the phone companies or a third party.

Great, so all that collected data is going to be kept in two places instead of one. I'm sure that'll make it much harder for ID thieves to get a hold of it. We all know the best solution to protect personal information is to make copies of it.

And where's the 4th recommendation... the one where they STOP SPYING on Americans?! Sounds like Obama is doing more to protect foreigners than Americans.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

Thank you Mr. Snowden. Something is better than nothing.

2 people like this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

And where's the 4th recommendation... the one where they STOP SPYING on Americans?! Sounds like Obama is doing more to protect foreigners than Americans.
There still yet to prove he is not a foreigner himself. I'm just saying, personally I don't care where he came from. And to be honest I grew tired of hearing about the search for his birth certificate. He was already sworn in, and they searched as if finding evidence against him would do anything to remove him from office. And to think the next one will (or would have been) be any better is a dream state.

Neojt said:

The last recommandation ... don't get caught

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Are we supposed to take Obama at his word? Look at how well that's worked out for us so far. He still hasn't kept the campaign promises he made in his first term.

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

There still yet to prove he is not a foreigner himself. I'm just saying, personally I don't care where he came from. And to be honest I grew tired of hearing about the search for his birth certificate. He was already sworn in, and they searched as if finding evidence against him would do anything to remove him from office. And to think the next one will (or would have been) be any better is a dream state.

I know... I thought about taking that shot but didn't. Obama has enough painfully true verifiable problems to focus on that I try not to draw attention to the ones that are probably bogus.

Mooseinadesert Mooseinadesert said:

He only brings reform when he gets caught.

IvanAwfulitch IvanAwfulitch said:

Nobody ever said the reform was with the people in mind.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Then why bother with the announcement?

1 person liked this | davislane1 davislane1 said:

Are we supposed to take Obama at his word? Look at how well that's worked out for us so far. He still hasn't kept the campaign promises he made in his first term.

To the man's credit, he has performed exactly as all of his detractors had expected.

Guest said:

Then why bother with the announcement?

This is nothing more than the Obama Administration trying to save face. He will act like he is "on the job" "taking action" to reform this evil program that he "knew nothing about", and the ***** voters(the ones who voted for him in the first place) will believe it! Just as they always do.

The equal protection to non American citizens is again, is just a ploy. Its just a headline to set people at ease as they do the same thing they were doing before. I for one, could care less about this fact. The sole purpose of government is protection of its citizens. So spying on other nations under the guidelines of national security is acceptable. They are not protected under the 4th amendment. Citizens however, are protected. Whats wrong with the government having this capability, but requiring a warrant to obtain the information? You know, like the law says it has to be. That way their is accountability. But with a media backing his every move, who is to stop him?

Remember kids, "absolute power corrupts absolutely".

tonylukac said:

They really don't seem to know what their employees are doing. Anyway, they announced this many times. Just do it.

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