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Obama preps big reforms for the NSA’s data collection programs

Image Credit: AP

Tech companies itching for the NSA to change the way it collects data might just get their wish. Mostly.

President Obama is considering reforms to the NSA’s surveillance programs that could include extending privacy protections to non-U.S citizens and revamping the NSA’s phone spying program, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Under current NSA programs, the agency is able to collect just about all the data it wants about just about everyone — particularly about people who aren’t U.S. citizens.

Much of that could change, thanks to Obama’s protections, which he could formally announce as soon as next week.

While the final scope of the reforms is still up in the air, one big change could force the NSA to get court orders before it searches phone data. (Right now the NSA relies solely on “reasonable, articulable suspicion” to make its decisions.)

The reforms could also bring changes to the FBI’s practice of demanding data through “national security letters,” which don’t require court approval.

Generally, Obama’s proposed reforms will be all about making many of the NSA’s data collection practices a bit more transparent, at least after the fact.

Again, none of it finalized yet, but we should have a better idea of Obama’s plans in the coming weeks.


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