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President Obama praises NSA, offers little in mass surveillance reform

Ellen Messmer | Jan. 20, 2014
President skirts most reform recommendations made by his appointed panel in December.

Obama's call for a transition in the bulk phone records program raises new questions, added Kevin Bankston, policy director of the New America Foundation Open Technology Institute.

"If the ultimate alternative to government collection is mandatory bulk data retention by the phone companies or mandatory bulk handover to a third party, the president should be prepared for a major legislative battle with key members of Congress, the technology industry and the privacy community arrayed against him," Bankston said by email. "Particularly when the president's own review group concluded that the records program is not essential to preventing terrorist attacks ... the right answer here is to stop the bulk collection completely — not to keep the same bulk data under a different roof."

 

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