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Technology / Networks

Obama proposes to modify controversial NSA surveillance programme

US President Barack Obama has proposed to modify the National Security Agency’s (NSA) contentious massive collection and storage of telephone metadata, while proposes storage of the data with telecom companies.

The latest proposal states that the US government can still access such data, but only after obtaining individual orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).

Obama said in a statement that having carefully considered the available options, it’s been decided that the best path forward is that it should not collect or hold this data in bulk.

"Instead, the data should remain at the telephone companies for the length of time it currently does today," Obama added.

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"The government would obtain the data pursuant to individual orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approving the use of specific numbers for such queries, if a judge agrees based on national security concerns.

"Legislation will be needed to permit the government to obtain this information with the speed and in the manner that will be required to make this approach workable."

Urging the congress to approve the legislation sanctioning the modification of the programme as soon as possible, the US President also ordered the Justice Department to ask for a 90-day reauthorisation of the existing programme.

"I believe this approach will best ensure that we have the information we need to meet our intelligence needs while enhancing public confidence in the manner in which the information is collected and held," Obama said.

"I am confident that this approach can provide our intelligence and law enforcement professionals the information they need to keep us safe while addressing the legitimate privacy concerns that have been raised."

The latest announcement comes after Obama being criticised by tech majors including Google, Facebook, claiming that the new restrictions on the NSA were ‘insufficient’.
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