Current Weather
The Spy FM

Post-9/11 Panel Criticizes NSA Phone Data Collection

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
January 23, 2014

An independent panel created after the 9/11 attacks says bulk collection of billions of American phone records violates the letter and the spirit of the law. The new report from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board undercuts the foundation of the National Security Agency’s long-running phone metadata program, and suggests it conflicts with plain language in the Patriot Act and other laws on the books.

NPR obtained a copy of the report, which will be discussed and voted on Thursday at an open board meeting. Among other conclusions, a three-member majority of the board says: — The dragnet collection has no connection to a specific FBI investigation when it’s being gathered, and so much information is being vacuumed up that it can’t be considered relevant under the law. — Requirements that telecoms provide data prospectively, each day as it’s generated, don’t jibe with the wording of Section 215, the part of the Patriot Act under which the collection happens. — The law says the FBI — not the NSA — is the group to be doing the collection. — Since lawmakers weren’t fully aware of the secret legal interpretations, even though they twice extended the law without changing the wording, the program has been operating outside the bounds of its legal authority. That analysis was far from unanimous, however, and two board members took the step of writing dissents that called those findings “gratuitous.” They noted that two presidents and more than a dozen judges on the secret surveillance court had upheld the bulk collection for years. Those issues are now moving through the federal courts. President Obama has already promised to tweak the metadata program by requiring judicial approval and narrowing how far NSA analysts can search for connections to known terrorist numbers. He’s ordered the attorney general and the national intelligence director to report to him by the end of March with ideas about how to move the vast amount of data out of government hands for fear of privacy violations and other abuses. The privacy board says it found no bad faith or intentional violations by people at the NSA, but it says the huge pool of data presents risks. The board will vote Thursday on whether to call for an outright end to the phone metadata program and call for more transparency from the government and the secret court. [Copyright 2014 NPR]

Leave a Reply

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

Listen Live Now!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

10AM to 11PM On Point

On Point

On Point unites distinct and provocative voices with passionate discussion as it confronts the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center