Obama administration to end NSA’s mass data collection tactics

25 Mar 2014

Former CIA contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations about the US National Security Agency (NSA)’s bulk data collection capabilities infuriated millions, but now the Obama administration is about to unveil legislative proposals for an overhaul of the NSA’s methods.

According toThe New York Times, new proposals will see the NSA end its systematic collection of data about people’s calling habits, with the bulk records remaining in the hands of telecoms firms.

Access to these records would require permission from a court, effectively how the process works in Europe.

Other changes are anticipated for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which is about to go for one more 90-day cycle of its current, controversial methods of apparently collecting data on the internet habits of non-American citizens.

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It too, is expected to undergo a major change in its modus operandi.

The changes, however, will not mean the US security apparatus will be in any way diminished or curtailed – new rapid court orders will require telecoms firms to provide telecoms records swiftly and easily in a compatible data format.

Telecoms companies will be required to hold onto customer records for much longer than the current 18-month requirement. By contrast, the NSA had up until now been holding onto customer records for five years.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years

editorial@siliconrepublic.com