In a speech delivered at the Department of Justice in Washington today, President Obama announced a change to just how your personal cellular phone metadata is stored by the U.S. government.
Previously year, revelations about the National Security Agency’s policy of gathering and saving vast levels of personal cellular phone data have already been a topic of national outrage. The angst over personal security was catalyzed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosure of U.S. government surveillance policies.
While Obama said back June that he "welcomed" debate about the policies, he certainly didn’t start the conversation unprovoked. That’s because it’s messy, complicated and both civil liberty advocates and national security advocates have become passionate. For instance, one civil liberties group, Demand Progress, has needed the end of the federal government assortment of metadata completely.
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While Obama said Friday that the existing practice of collecting bulk cellular phone metadata will continue, he did say an independent alternative party will contain the data, not the federal government itself. Also, the U.S. government is only going to have the ability to pull phone records from that alternative party storage facility that are two steps taken off a terrorist organization. Previously, phone records have already been in a position to be pulled if they’re suspected to be so far as three steps taken off a terrorist organization, according to an undeniable fact sheet released by the White House.
In his speech, Obama organized out the need for secret surveillance action in protecting civilians from foreign military threat. He started by ticking off the U.S.’s long history of using military intelligence to guard the united states, referencing Paul Revere and ‘The Sons of Liberty’ in the brand new War to code-breaking during World War II that allowed the American military to intercept Japanese war plans.
However the President also acknowledged the need for protecting the civil liberties of people, particularly within an increasingly digitally-connected world where hackers have significantly more opportunities than ever before. "There exists a reason BlackBerrys and i-Phones aren’t allowed in the White House Situation Room," he said.
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Furthermore to announcing changes to data collection, Obama revealed other national security strategy changes today in a presidential policy directive. For instance, one per year, a panel of advocates with a wide spectral range of policy agendas will sit back and review current surveillance policies. Also, the policy directive clarifies what communications between U.S. and foreign nations will be examined by national securities officials. And the STATE DEPT. will include a fresh position specifically designated to developing diplomatic policy surrounding technology and privacy.
Obama said that due to the pace of technological developments, the discussion of how better to protect individual privacy while also protecting U.S. civilians from foreign terrorist threats will have to happen regularly later on. "When you cut through the noise, what’s really on the line is how exactly we remain true to who we are in a global that’s remaking itself at dizzying speed," said Obama today. "A very important factor I believe of: This debate can make us stronger."
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