President Obama has announced a few big changes to the existing US government’s far reaching surveillance programs and gave an assurance to people that a right kind of balance will be struck between civil rights and security.
[su_pullquote align=”right”][su_note]”US government cannot collect large amounts of data for the purpose of indiscriminately reviewing the emails or phone calls of ordinary people”. – Obama[/su_note][/su_pullquote]
The biggest change will be the abolition of the current program that collects phone calls data in bulk. Obama said that a new two-step data gathering process will be introduced which means that only those phone calls are gathered and investigated which are related to a terrorist group in two steps. Previously it was 3 steps. This means that far less American telephone calls will be subjected to surveillance now.
The second step is devising of a new mechanism that empowers the US government to have the same extensive reach without collecting the calls metadata itself. The alternative systems and possibilities will be submitted to the president before March 28 this year when the program is resubmitted for extension.
Obama also announced that the information that is not publicly available can only be obtained the following six cases:
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- Cyber threats
- Terrorism threat
- Threats related to weapons of mass destruction
- Threats to US or allied forces
- Threats by foreign powers against US
He also announced that in order to ensure that these big changes do take place, a new senior officer shall be put in place to oversee surveillance and technology related issues.