The White House has released more than 40 recommendations of changes and reforms to National Security Agency surveillance programs from an independent panel commissioned by President Barack Obama after the disclosures of NSA leak source Edward Snowden.
The headline of the five-person commission’s report, which is more than 300 pages, is the recommendation that the NSA ends collection of information, or “metadata,” on a vast array of phone calls in the United States.
The panel recommends that the data is stored either by a private entity or by phone companies themselves. Governmental access to the data would then have to be approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and only if it meets certain criteria.
“We recommend that, as a general rule, and without senior policy review, the government should not be permitted to collect and store all mass, undigested, non-public personal information about individuals to
enable future queries and data-mining for foreign intelligence purposes,” the report reads. “Any program involving government collection or storage of such data must be narrowly tailored to serve an important government interest.”
The release of the report comes two days after a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the program is likely unconstitutional. He granted a stay in the case to allow for an appeal from the government.
Obama established the commission in late August. He is still reviewing the report’s recommendations and is likely to decide on implementing some of its reforms in January.
Some of the 46 recommendations from the panel:
- The government should commission a study that assesses the distinction between metadata and other types of information.
- The NSA director should be a Senate-confirmed position.
- Congress should pass legislation that ends the NSA’s bulk collection program.
- When proposing to spy on foreign leaders, question: “Is there a need to engage in such surveillance in order to asses significant threat to our national security?”
- A change to who has access to classified information. The report says that classified information should be shared only with those who “genuinely need to know.”
You can see the full report below:
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