Obama ending U.S. phone data collection inside the government
One of the first things we ever heard that put the NSA on the radar of anyone with a cell phone was that the government organization was collecting metadata from various wireless carriers, including records from U.S. citizens. There has been quite a lot more info to come out since then, and a lot of uproar about the overreaching of the NSA, but today President Obama has said that he is going to overhaul what happens.
The president said today that the government will no longer collect American phone data, and that the current stores of information collected would be moved out of the government. It is unclear where the data will be housed though. Under the new directive, individual searches will be limited, and any governmental intelligence officials will need to obtain an order from a secret national-security court in order to search phone data.
President Obama said:
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. I recognize that there are additional issues that require further debate.
As far as non-American phone data, not much will change, except that there will no longer be any spying on the heads of state of close U.S. allies. Although, it should be noted that even the staff members of those heads of state are not immune from spying. The new directive makes pretty wide-reaching changes, but seems focused on phone data collection at first. Several government agencies are will feel the changes, but none more so than the NSA.