President Barack Obama to end NSA access to phone records

By Daniel S Levine,

During a speech on Friday, President Barack Obama is expected to call for the ending of the National Security Agency’s access to the phone records of millions of Americans. According to reports, he will seek advice on who should have access to these records.

A senior administration official told the Associated Press that Obama is not going to outline his own plan for the metadata, as it is known. Instead, he will ask for advice from the Justice Department and the intelligence community. Congress will also play a role in deciding who will have access to the data.

The data collection program will have to be reauthorized on March 28. The President hopes that the decision is made by that point to transfer the data to a new location.

According to USA Today, Obama wants the government now to have a judicial reason whenever it seeks access to the data.

Privacy advocates have warned against the government having access to the phone records. It wasn’t until Edward Snowden began leaking documents to the press that the activities of the NSA and its programs were widely known. Obama’s speech today, set for 11 a.m. at the Justice Department, comes after the administration’s review of the NSA’s activities.

Still, the President has defended the NSA’s tools as essential for the nation’s security. He is also seeking Congressional approval for his proposals, and Congress is divided on the spying programs. The Supreme Court could also make a decision if it chooses to.

image: Wikimedia Commons

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