A presidential task force has drafted recommendations that, if implemented, would effectively end National Security Agency’s practice of collecting U.S. phone calls in bulk
Siobhan Gorman of The Wall Street Journal reports.
The draft proposes that the metadata records of nearly every U.S. phone call, which have been recorded as far back as 2001, be held instead by the phone company or a third-party organisation and stricter standards be implemented to dictate when the NSA is permitted to search the data.
The bulk collection is permitted under the “business records” clause in section 215 of the Patriot Act. The NSA argues that “obviously there is no Fourth Amendment expectation [to privacy] in communications metadata,” although that opinion is disputed.
The panel’s recommendation is precisely what has been called for by U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who both sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
An amendment proposed by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) would have restricted the collection of metadata to Americans who are “subject of an investigation described in section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.”
Gorman notes that the recommendations aren’t binding and could change before the final draft is written.
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