Obama announces plans to overhaul controversial NSA phone data collection program

By on January 17, 2014, 12:30 PM
nsa, obama, smartphone, dishfire, phone data

President Obama on Friday revealed plans to overhaul the National Security Agency’s controversial telephone data collection program. A review panel appointed by the president recommended that the NSA no longer be allowed to retain such data and instead, it should be left in the hands of the telecommunications firms or an independent third party.

Unsurprisingly, the telecommunications firms declined to be part of the program. What’s more, there’s no third party in place to store such data. For these reasons, Obama has appointed Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and intelligence agencies to figure it out and report back by March 28. The president will also consult with Congress although any changes may require legislation, we’re told.

It’s also worth pointing out that the president will require intelligence agencies to obtain approval to access the records through a FISA court, a secret court that oversees surveillance of terrorists and other targets.

Obama also announced tighter restrictions for spying on international leaders. As such, “dozens” of foreign leaders would now be safe from surveillance techniques although the protection did not extend to their advisors.

Contrary to recent information leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the president said the US does not indiscriminately snoop on those that pose no threat. If you recall, an NSA program known as Dishfire claims to collect nearly 200 million text messages each day even from people that aren’t suspected of illegal activity.

We’ll see what happens come March 28 when a transfer point for the database is recommended.




User Comments: 15

Got something to say? Post a comment
1 person liked this | amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Contrary to recent information leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the president said the US does not indiscriminately snoop on those that pose no threat.

The real question is...do you believe Snowden or Obama? I'm with Snowden.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Contrary to recent information leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the president said the US does not indiscriminately snoop on those that pose no threat.

The real question is...do you believe Snowden or Obama? I'm with Snowden.

Why does one have to be on our side and the other isn't? Call it like it is... Snowden ratted out the countries secrets in the name of freedom and then ran to a country where they don't let men hold hands in public.

Obama's lies about Obamacare regarding 'you can keep your plan. Period.' put him up there with Clinton's 'I did not have relations with that woman'. Except Obama's lies actually affect a few million people. And will affect a few million more when the employer mandate kicks in (don't worry, it's strategically set to go into effect AFTER the next election cycle.)

Anyway... the point it, I don't trust either one of them.

Guest said:

It is always the same old question:

What do we have to sacrifice for security?

After 9/11 the US citizenry said "Do whatever you have to do".

We will probably never know what plots were foiled because of the NSA snooping (if any).

We have to find the right balance of privacy and security. That balance may mean that the bad guys occasionally win.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

After 9/11 the US citizenry said "Do whatever you have to do".
No we didn't.

I personally said go kill the bastards. None of us said go live with them for the next two decades or more. And we certainly didn't say treat ourselves as though we will be the next attacker. You may have said do what ever is necessary, I did not.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

After 9/11 the US citizenry said "Do whatever you have to do".

No we didn't.

I personally said go kill the bastards. None of us said go live with them for the next two decades or more. And we certainly didn't say treat ourselves as though we will be the next attacker. You may have said do what ever is necessary, I did not.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Let me amend my statement.

The bulk of the US citizenry through their representatives and pseudo-representatives (the media) said make sure it doesn't happen again. If we disassemble all of this surveillance and another 9/11 happens they will say--- why did you do that.

If we keep the surveillance and it happens again they will say--- you didn't do enough.

We as voters have to decide how much liberty do we give up to be safe (assuming we can truly be safe).

Gaara Gaara said:

Great Move Obama and keep it up.

2 people like this | MilwaukeeMike said:

It is always the same old question:

What do we have to sacrifice for security?

After 9/11 the US citizenry said "Do whatever you have to do".

We will probably never know what plots were foiled because of the NSA snooping (if any).

We have to find the right balance of privacy and security. That balance may mean that the bad guys occasionally win.

Yes, it does mean they may occasionally win. Personally, I don't think the NSA is, by itself, a problem. The NSA is a tool, and if the group using the tool is honest and moral then it's not a problem. Much like how no one really cares that cops have guns, but felons with guns isn't such a good idea.

But look at what our govt has done this year? They pointed the IRS at conservative groups for stopping their tax exempt status. They were caught bugging the phones of reporter James Rosen... it's such an obvious offense against free speech that it's made headlines. (Full story here.)

Here in WI, we have our own examples of the govt trying to oppress the free speech of one's political views. (From the Wall Street Journal)

So normally I'd say the NSA isn't a problem, but because our govt has proven to care more about their political future than either the truth or free speech it makes me worried the NSA may be used for more than just anti-terrorism.

I question the timing of the announcement too. Sounds like a ploy to detract from this far more important story.

Raoul Duke Raoul Duke said:

Overhaul......is that a new way to spell snow job

Guest said:

If anyone is still under the illusion that the destruction of the wtc and building seven was an attack carried out by external forces please, please do some research. It was an attack on the people to justify taking away our freedom in the name of 'security'. Politicians are just puppets regardless of their political status. They are told to recite what the script says and that's why nothing ever gets done unless it fits the agenda of the ones pulling the strings!

The 'puppet masters' want to track our every move and control every second of our lives whilst making us pay through the nose for our own enslavement. The NSA is just a tool to do this along with the banking, media, technological, oil and pharmaceutical corporations and not forgetting the all important perpetual war machine. If technology can be used to control humanity, just sit back and watch as the billions magically get pumped into the research whilst politicians via the media tell us that essential public services need to be cut back.

Most of the topics on feeds like this are either political propaganda serving to re-enforce the lies or corporate propaganda drip feeding product information so that we will spend our dollars on their products. We never see great stories relating to stuff like free energy research or anything that could truly benefit humankind and why? Because its media controlled!

If you hear any politician pledging reforms on security, banking, healthcare or foreign policy, they will promote the lies and propaganda to make us buy into it and then pass a bill which takes away another freedom. Look at what happened to Germany under the Nazis and take that as the model for our future. Politics these days is all about giving us the illusion that we have a choice but in reality the choice is made for us by stealth and without the consent of the people. For the sake of humanity and those who still believe politicians are for the people, it's time to WAKE UP!!

Phew! It feels good to get that off my chest!

spencer spencer said:

This is a simple ploy, obama won't do a darn thing...but now that people are conditioned about the NSA they will be fine with the idea of being spied on nearly 24/7 and become accustomed to it obama may claim he'll do everything to make the NSA constitutional but has he done that with anything else he has ever done? NO, +I'm getting sick of this darn New world order.

spencer spencer said:

The real truth of the matter is,as you and I know, that a financial ?element in the large centers has owned the government ever since? the days of Andrew Jackson-Frankin Roosevelt.

Guest said:

You still believe this fool? god help you.

Raoul Duke Raoul Duke said:

@spencer

trust me, if the people are sheeple, or if the people are asleep, they don't want to be waken up and will only resent your attempts to do so. Having studied philosophy I can have a logical/civil argument with someone, I grant everyone has the right to their own belief no matter what I think of it, but like the maxim about parties -don't talk about politics, religion and money, but most folks are in their comfy world-view, don't want it rocked, and are incapable of discussing things without losing their temper. There are better things to do with life than argue with people. I like the quote at the start of the movie Platoon. "Hell is the impossibility of reason"

spencer spencer said:

@spencer

trust me, if the people are sheeple, or if the people are asleep, they don't want to be waken up and will only resent your attempts to do so. Having studied philosophy I can have a logical/civil argument with someone, I grant everyone has the right to their own belief no matter what I think of it, but like the maxim about parties -don't talk about politics, religion and money, but most folks are in their comfy world-view, don't want it rocked, and are incapable of discussing things without losing their temper. There are better things to do with life than argue with people. I like the quote at the start of the movie Platoon. "Hell is the impossibility of reason"

I'm aware many don't want to wake up and many don't on their own but the cracks in this system are showing so I might as well try. if you like philosophyI'd recommend checking out Stephen Molyneaux

Guest said:

Great Move Obama and keep it up.

Keep what up? Saying he wants to do something? Demonizing everyone around him as if he holds no responsibility? This guy had the first 2 years of his presidency to steam roll whatever the hell he wanted with majority rule in the house, senate, and control of the white house. And to this day he has the Senate and a crutched house. And still all he can do is blame everyone else but himself. That is not leadership. Its pathetic and the rest of the world knows it.

Hilary looks forward to your vote in 2016 for more of the same.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.