Menu
DOJ, intelligence official support bill ending bulk phone collection

DOJ, intelligence official support bill ending bulk phone collection

The Senate is likely to vote on a pumped-up version of the USA Freedom Act this fall

Two top officials in U.S. President Barack Obama's administration, including the director of national intelligence, have voiced support for a Senate bill that would end the U.S. National Security Agency's bulk collection of domestic telephone records.

The Senate version of the USA Freedom Act, which would allow the NSA to collect U.S. phone records only after targeting specific selection terms, "should provide the public greater confidence in our programs and the checks and balances in the system," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wrote in a letter this week to the bill's sponsor.

The bill "preserves essential intelligence community capabilities," the two officials wrote to Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat. The bill is "a reasonable compromise that enhances privacy and civil liberties and increases transparency," they added.

The support from Clapper and Holder is a turnaround from late last year, when officials with the DOJ and ODNI said the USA Freedom Act would hinder U.S. terrorist tracking efforts. The Senate is likely to act on the USA Freedom Act after it returns from summer recess next week.

In May, the U.S. House of Representatives approved an amended version of the bill that critics said would not end bulk collection of U.S. phone records. The House version of the bill included an expanded definition of "specific selection terms" that the NSA could use to target phone records, and privacy groups criticized the bill for allowing the agency wide latitude to continue to target large numbers of phone records.

Leahy and several other senators have pushed to close that loophole in the Senate version of the bill.

The Center for Democracy and Technology, a digital rights group, applauded the Obama administration's support for the Senate version of the bill.

The support "strongly confirms that we can advance privacy protections without sacrificing our safety," CDT President and CEO Nuala O'Connor said in a statement. "After a year of debate, the consensus is clear -- bulk collection is invasive and unnecessary, and its prohibition will not hamper essential intelligence needs."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags U.S. Department of JusticeNuala O'ConnortelecommunicationU.S. National Security AgencyEric HolderJames ClapperlegislationgovernmentBarack ObamaPatrick Leahyprivacysecurity

Featured

Slideshows

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?

From new extortion schemes, outside threats and rising cyber attacks, the art of securing the enterprise has seldom been so complex or challenging. With distance no longer a viable defence, Kiwi businesses are fighting to stay ahead of the security curve. In total, 28 per cent of local businesses faced a cyber attack last year, with the number in New Zealand set to rise in 2017. Yet amidst the sensationalism, media headlines and ongoing high profile breaches, confusion floods the channel, as partners seek strategic methods to combat rising sophistication from attackers. In sizing up the security spectrum, this Reseller News roundtable - in association with F5 Networks, Kaspersky Lab, Tech Data, Sophos and SonicWall - assessed where the channel sweet spot is within the New Zealand channel. Photos by Maria Stefina.

Sizing up the NZ security spectrum - Where's the channel sweet spot?
Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Show Comments