Shortly after Edward Snowden leaked details regarding the NSA’s surveillance practices, President Obama announced that he would put together a review panel that would recommend changes to how the agency conducts its surveillance operations. Now that that report is in the hands of the president, he’s ready to act upon those recommendations.
The White House announced today that President Obama will announce a number of NSA reforms on January 17. These reforms will reportedly reign in collection efforts as well as provide additional oversight to the programs. There may be more changes made as the review panel handed a list of 46 recommendations to the president.
While we may not know the specifics, The Hill says that early reports have indicated that Obama will call for an end of the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone metadata. Instead, the government will have private companies or a third party store this information. From there, the NSA will have to receive a court order to obtain certain metadata.
In other words, your phone metadata will still be collected. This is a small improvement, however, as the NSA will no longer have unfettered access to said data. Instead, they will have to submit a request to look at data. Even then, they will only be able to look at specific data instead of being able to look through all of it.
The second reform will reportedly call for more oversight of the National Intelligence Priorities Framework. This particular framework sets the intelligence community’s priorities in regards to surveillance targets, including foreign heads of state. As you may recall, the U.S. found itself in a bit of hot water late last year after it was revealed the NSA spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel for no apparent reason.
Beyond the above two reforms, we have no idea what Obama will announce next Friday. Heck, the above two recommendations may not even come to fruition next week as the intelligence community may very well convince Obama to change his mind before then.
If that happens, we at least have a number of bills floating around Congress that seek to end the NSA’s activities.
Image via The White House/flickr