Government: Federal, State and Local / Security Newswire

Obama Announces Overhaul of NSA Phone Surveillance

Barack Obama announced he would end the National Security Agency’s ability to store phone data collected from millions of Americans.

Obama promised that the United States will not eavesdrop on the heads of state or government of close U.S. friends and allies.

Obama will also require intelligence agencies to obtain approval from a FISA court – a secret U.S. court that governs surveillance of terrorist and foreign espionage targets - before accessing the records, said Fox News.

In a nod to privacy advocates, said the Chicago Tribune, Obama decided that the government should not hold the bulk telephone metadata, a decision that could frustrate some intelligence officials. In addition, he ordered that effectively immediately, the U.S. government will take steps to modify the program so that a judicial finding is required before the database is queried.

Obama also decided that communications providers would be allowed to share more information with the public above government requests for data.

Obama has asked Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and intelligence officials to deliver a plan to transition away from government control of the information before March 28, when the program is due to be reauthorized by a secret court, the Washington Post said. Obama also will consult Congress for additional input, asking lawmakers to deliberate on the appropriate boundaries for the phone records collection.
 

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