PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Community News Network

March 25, 2014

White House plan would end bulk collection of Americans' phone data

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is preparing legislation that would end the National Security Agency's widespread collection of Americans' phone data while, officials say, preserving the government's ability to gain information about terrorists.

The legislation, senior officials say, would allow data about phone calls made to and from Americans to be kept at the phone companies. The companies would not be required to hold the data longer than they normally would.

The effort comes as the administration is up against a deadline set by President Barack Obama in January, when he directed his subordinates to find a way to end the government's mass collection of phone data, a program that has stirred controversy since it was revealed through a leak to the news media last June. He gave them until Friday to come up with options.

The proposal, which is still being worked on, would require phone companies to provide data about suspected terrorist numbers under a court order, officials said. It would include making available on a real-time, ongoing basis data about any new calls made to or from the suspect's number after the order is served — an idea embraced by NSA leaders, officials said.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees the program, would have to approve each number as having likely ties to a suspected terrorist or terrorist group.

The effort, first reported by The New York Times, is not surprising in that the number of options was limited. And any option would probably require legislative approval.

Officials said the administration has decided to renew the current program for at least one more 90-day cycle. The current orders expire Friday. Under the program, the government collects telephone numbers and call times and dates, but not call content.

The administration effort comes as the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee have drafted a bipartisan bill that would also end the NSA's mass gathering of data. Their measure, to be introduced Tuesday, would also keep the records at the phone companies.

But some privacy advocates are already expressing opposition to their proposal.

The House bill would reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to make clear that the government can no longer collect any form of electronic communication in bulk, said its sponsors, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the committee chairman, and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, Md., its ranking Democrat.

"We believe this can be the solution for those of us who want to preserve important national security capabilities while heeding the legitimate concerns of many that the collection of bulk telephone metadata has a potential for abuse," said Rogers, who has staunchly defended the NSA's bulk-collection authority.

Ruppersberger, whose district includes the NSA's Fort Meade, Md., headquarters, said, "The most important thing is getting the public's confidence that their government is out there protecting them against terrorist attacks" while respecting privacy and increasing transparency.

The bill, according to congressional aides, would bar the mass collection of different types of information, including phone call records and records of Internet activity. It also covers location information, aides said.

It, too, would not require telecommunication companies to retain data for longer than they do now. And it would require that the government serve a directive on a company that is being asked for data.

But unlike other pending legislation, it does not call for judicial approval of a specific phone number before a request for data is submitted to a company.

The Rogers-Ruppersberger legislation would have the court make that determination "promptly" after the FBI submits a number to a phone company. If the court did not approve the number as being linked to an agent of a foreign power, including terrorist groups, the data collected would be expunged.

"If there is no judicial authorization beforehand, I don't see the civil liberties community getting behind it," said Harley Geiger, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy & Technology.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., who has co-sponsored competing legislation, said the Rogers-Ruppersberger bill "limits, but does not end, bulk collection." He said that provisions in the draft "fall well short" of the safeguards in his bill.

Both the administration's and the House lawmakers' proposals would allow data up to two "hops" from a target to be collected.

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Video
House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways
Facebook
Sports Tweets
Photos