“The change would relax longstanding restrictions on access to the contents of the phone calls and email the security agency vacuums up around the world, including bulk collection of satellite transmissions, communications between foreigners as they cross network switches in the United States, and messages acquired overseas or provided by allies,” Savage reports. “The idea is to let more experts across American intelligence gain direct access to unprocessed information, increasing the chances that they will recognize any possible nuggets of value. That also means more officials will be looking at private messages — not only foreigners’ phone calls and emails that have not yet had irrelevant personal information screened out, but also communications to, from, or about Americans that the N.S.A.’s foreign intelligence programs swept in incidentally.”
“Civil liberties advocates criticized the change, arguing that it will weaken privacy protections. They said the government should disclose how much American content the N.S.A. collects incidentally — which agency officials have said is hard to measure — and let the public debate what the rules should be for handling that information,” Savage reports. “‘Before we allow them to spread that information further in the government, we need to have a serious conversation about how to protect Americans’ information,’ said Alexander Abdo, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: The U.S. government is so voracious and rapacious for data it makes Google look like a privacy proponent.