Obama administration set to release independent panel's national surveillance reform report

The White House is set to release today an independent panel’s recommendation’s for reforming the nation’s surveillance programs, as The Hill reported.

One source told us that the report, outlining 46 recommendations, is expected out at 1 p.m. PST and will go beyond proposals on the collecting of U.S. phone data to also include Internet surveillance. The Washington Post is reporting today that the recommendations include barring the National Security Agency from requesting tech companies to build backdoors to get around their own encryption, among other recommendations.

The report comes a day after President Obama met with 15 tech luminaries at the White House, where they discussed the national surveillance program (although the White House had billed the meeting as mostly a HealthCare.gov discussion).

As I discussed in a column today, both Obama and the tech industry have a stake in repairing their relationship. The tech industry wants national surveillance reforms; Obama, I’m sure, would like to stop having to fight the industry with executives like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg taking shots. And, there are other political and policy issues for both the President and the tech industry to focus on.

The report today will be critical. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reports last week said the proposals included “a civilian director of the NSA, that the president directly review the surveillance of any foreign leaders, and that a public advocate argue for privacy rights before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,” as the Hill summed up in its story.

This week a federal judge questioned the legality of the NSA’s collection of U.S. phone data, as the New York Times reported.

Look to see if the Obama administration embraces the proposed reforms and commits to them with clear timelines.

Look as well for industry reaction.

Above: Outside National Security Agency headquarters in Ft. Meade, Maryland. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File).

Michelle Quinn Michelle Quinn (78 Posts)

Michelle Quinn is a Business Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. Prior to her current role, she was the Silicon Valley correspondent at Politico covering tech policy and politics. She has also covered the tech industry at the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. She was a blogger for the New York Times.