Secret court ruling puts Obama's NSA crack-down in motion

By on February 7, 2014, 4:30 PM
nsa, president obama, foreign intelligence surveillance court, reform

A secret ruling made by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has now approved the two measures, both of which are directly tied to how the NSA can access the massive database of metadata it has accumulated. The first should potentially see the NSA require court approval on the basis of reasonable suspicion that the investigation is in some way connected to a known terrorist organization before accessing the data. The other is based on the degrees of separation or "hops" in which an NSA investigation can run. Previously, the agency was legally allowed to gather information on individuals within 3 degrees of separation of a target, that number now drops to 2.

Of the suggestions and proposals from Obama's speech, these appear to be the most obvious, much of the other changes are more long term and will require approval periods and Congressional involvement. When the President announced the latest NSA reforms last month, he also proposed that a third party take control of the massive collection of metadata, but until that happens the government will retain the database.

Much of the details of the latest FISA court ruling are secret, but it did order the government to determine whether or not the motion can be released to the public (along with previous rulings) by February 17.




User Comments: 6

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1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I still call BS to this whole "Obama announces NSA Reform". Just another crowd control attempt to silence everyone. As much as I hate to way it might work, I highly doubt anything will change.

The other is based on the degrees of separation or "hops" in which an NSA investigation can run. Previously, the agency was legally allowed to gather information on individuals within 3 degrees of separation of a target, that number now drops to 2.
What exactly does this mean? Still looks like a giant loophole to me.
When the President announced the latest NSA reforms last month, he also proposed that a third party take control of the massive collection of metadata, but until that happens the government will retain the database.
Which party would that be? Google? :rollseyes:

1 person liked this | Nima304 said:

I agree with Cliffordcooley, these "reforms" mean little. They deal mostly with how the NSA is able to interact with the information it obtains, but doesn't stop the root problem of mass surveillance of people within our borders or abroad.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

A ruling from a secret court, I feel freer already.

1 person liked this | WithoutAnyMilk WithoutAnyMilk said:

When the President announced the latest NSA reforms last month, he also proposed that a third party take control of the massive collection of metadata, but until that happens the government will retain the database.

All this means is a contractor will take over the database, and all employees will still have to obtain Secret level government clearance just to enter the building(s) where operations are performed, and only certain people will be granted access to the higher levels. Furthermore, if it is a private corporation contracted to the government that is running this, the corporation will just freely hand over the information upon all official requests, per the contract. There would be NO change here. This is just PR (read: propaganda) for the disorganized, easily-appeased and generally apathetic masses.

Think I'm wrong? Look into what General Dynamics, a private corporation, does for the US government - specifically the DOD, the DOJ, and (*shudder*) the DHS. They supply the call centers for Obamacare and, amongst many other things, they scour the internet for political dissidents that speak critically or in poor regard of their government. I guess I'm screwed either way.

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I guess I'm screwed either way.
I'm probably in that boat with you.

That is right, I'm smiling about it! I don't want to be found guilty of not caring enough to complain. I may not know what I'm complaining about, but I will not be the one to sit back and ignore everything as if it doesn't effect me.

fimbles fimbles said:

Degrees of separation down to 2 you say.

Googles " bacon number" shows how flawed this is. Im guessing the NSA will use "human" and "male or female" as a valid hop.

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