Obama scales back NSA programme

2014-01-17 22:31
Edward Snowden (File, AFP)

Edward Snowden (File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - President Barack Obama banned US eavesdropping on the leaders of close friends and allies on Friday and began reining in the vast collection of Americans' phone data in a series of reforms triggered by Edward Snowden's revelations.

In a major speech, Obama took steps to reassure Americans and foreigners alike that the United States will take into account privacy concerns that arose after former US spy contractor Snowden's damaging disclosures about the sweep of monitoring activities of the National Security Agency (NSA).

"The reforms I'm proposing today should give the American people greater confidence that their rights are being protected, even as our intelligence and law enforcement agencies maintain the tools they need to keep us safe," he said.

Obama promised that the United States will not eavesdrop on the heads of state or government of close US friends and allies, which a senior administration official said would apply to dozens of leaders.

The step was designed to smooth over frayed relations between, for example, the United States and Germany after reports surfaced last year that the NSA had monitored the mobile phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff postponed a state visit to Washington to protest US tactics.

"The leaders of our close friends and allies deserve to know that if I want to learn what they think about an issue, I will pick up the phone and call them, rather than turning to surveillance," Obama said.

Obama is trying to balance public anger at the disclosure of intrusion into Americans' privacy with his commitment to retain policies he considers critical to protecting the United States.

The steps Obama put in motion are aimed at adapting regulations to keep up with rapid changes in surveillance technology that permit NSA analysts to monitor private communications globally.

Among the list of reforms, Obama called on Congress to establish an outside panel of privacy advocates for the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court that considers terrorism cases. The former chief judge of the FISA court had opposed such a step.

While the speech was designed to address concerns that US surveillance has gone too far, Obama's measures were relatively limited.

Metadata

One of the biggest changes will be an overhaul of the government's handling of bulk telephone "metadata." He said the programme will be ended as it currently exists.

In a nod to privacy advocates, the government will not hold the bulk telephone metadata, a decision that could frustrate some intelligence officials.

In addition, Obama said the US the government will need a judicial review before the database, which lists millions of telephone calls, can be queried unless there is a true emergency.

Obama also decided that communications providers would be allowed to share more information with the public about government requests for data.

While a presidential advisory panel had recommended that the bulk data be controlled by a third party such as the telephone companies, Obama did not plan to offer a specific proposal for who should store the data in the future.

Obama has asked Attorney General Eric Holder and the intelligence community to report back to him before the metadata program comes up for reauthorization on 28 March on how to preserve the necessary capabilities of the programme, without the government holding the metadata.

Obama made clear that his administration's anger at Snowden's revelations has not abated. Snowden, living in asylum in Russia, is wanted on espionage charges, although some Americans would like him to be granted amnesty for exposing secrets they feel needed to be made public.

"The sensational way in which these disclosures have come out has often shed more heat than light, while revealing methods to our adversaries that could impact our operations in ways that we may not fully understand for years to come," Obama said, mentioning the former NSA contractor by name.

Obama said US intelligence agencies will only use bulk collection of data for fighting terrorism protecting US troops and allies, and combating crime.

Read more on:    nsa  |  edward snowden  |  barack obama  |  us  |  privacy
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
8 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

3 must-do trail runs

If you love trail running, you have to put these on your bucket list.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Tips for paddling your first Dusi
Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

One day only! – 40% off Appliances!

Get 40% off 100’s of appliances at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may prefer to be in charge because then you can call the shots. You are not as flexible as you like to make out to be and you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.