In a 43-minute speech this morning at the Justice Department, President Obama announced a series of reforms to the NSA and said the country enacted the surveillance programs using big data without much of a public debate. He also issued his policy directives on the NSA, which the New York Times posted. The Washington Post has broken down the speech into digestible chunks.
Obama’s changes include ending the current so-called “meta data” bulk collection of phone data in the U.S. although the program will be remade with changes to which entity stores the data (it won’t be the government but he didn’t say who would hold it) and how government can access it. In another key change, he said that the U.S. would provide privacy protections for foreigners’ data.
Those two changes alone will be welcomed by the tech industry, which was looking for substantial changes to the national surveillance programs, as I wrote about for the Mercury News.
The president didn’t address specifically the tech firms’ suit seeking to disclose more information but he did say companies would be able to disclose more information about government requests for user data. Also, the president said he will ask Congress to convene a panel of public advocates to represent consumers before the FISA court.
We’ll update as we get reaction.
Photo: President Barack Obama speaks Friday at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington about NSA surveillance techniques and reforms. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)