Menu
NSA authorization to collect bulk phone data extended to June 1

NSA authorization to collect bulk phone data extended to June 1

The approval will be the last before the relevant statute in the Patriot Act comes up for renewal

A U.S. secret court has extended until June 1 the controversial bulk collection of private phone records of Americans by the National Security Agency.

The government said it had asked for reauthorization of the program as reform legislation, called the USA Freedom Act, was stalled in Congress. The bill would require telecommunications companies rather than the NSA to hold the bulk data, besides placing restrictions on the search terms used to retrieve the records.

An added urgency for Congress to act comes from the upcoming expiry on June 1 of the relevant part of the Patriot Act that provides the legal framework for the bulk data collections. Under a so-called "sunset" clause, the provision will lapse unless it is reauthorized in some form or the other by legislation.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which relates to business records, was used by the government to vacuum telephone metadata from customers of Verizon, according to revelations in 2013 by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden. The section comes bundled with "gag orders" that prohibit service providers from making such information demands public.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had previously extended in December the authorization for the program by 90 days after the USA Freedom Act, backed by the administration of President Barack Obama, failed to pass in the Senate. A version of the bill had passed the House of Representatives.

The government has now sought renewal of the current program up to June 1 in order to align its expiry date with the sunset on the same day of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, according to a joint statement by the Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Friday.

In March last year, as part of his reform program for the NSA, Obama had proposed that the data should remain with the telephone companies, and government would have access to that data only through individual court orders. The president, however, said there was need for new legislation to put these changes into effect.

With Section 215 and two other key rules set to lapse on June 1, Congress "has a limited window" before the sunset to enact new legislation "that would implement the President's proposed path forward for the telephony metadata program, while preserving key intelligence authorities," according to a statement by the White House press secretary.

A number of civil rights and privacy groups have asked Congress to oppose reauthorization of Section 215, one of several provisions in U.S. law that have provided the legal backing for NSA surveillance of people both in the country and abroad. The sunset of section 215 may not end bulk records collection, particularly of investigations that started before the expiry, according to some interpretations. Government could also use other statutes for domestic bulk data collection.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securityU.S. National Security AgencyForeign Intelligence Surveillance Courtprivacy

Featured

Slideshows

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel

​As the channel changes and industry voices deepen, the need for clarity and insight heightens. Market misconceptions talk of an “under pressure” distribution space, with competitors in that fateful “race for relevance” across New Zealand. Amidst the cliched assumptions however, distribution is once again showing its strength, as a force to be listened to, rather than questioned. Traditionally, the role was born out of a need for vendors and resellers to find one another, acting as a bridge between the testing lab and the marketplace. Yet despite new technologies and business approaches shaking the channel to its very core, distributors remain tied to the epicentre - providing the voice of reason amidst a seismic industry shift. In looking across both sides of the vendor and partner fences, the middle concept of the three-tier chain remains centrally placed to understand the metrics of two differing worlds, as the continual pulse checkers of the local channel. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable, in association with Dicker Data and rhipe, examined the pivotal role of distribution in understanding the health of the channel, educating from the epicentre as the market transforms at a rapid rate.

Educating from the epicentre - Why distributors are the pulse checkers of the channel
Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017

After Hours made a welcome return to the channel social calendar last night, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and resellers descending on The Jefferson in Auckland to kickstart 2017. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Kiwi channel reunites as After Hours kicks off 2017
Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Show Comments