Obama to propose curbs on NSA spying

“U.S. President Barack Obama plans to propose curbs on the National Security Agency to guard against unwarranted snooping in Americans’ private affairs,” Roger Runningen reports for Bloomberg News.

“The president is scheduled to get a report next week from a five-member panel of lawyers and former security officials that’s reviewing the spy agency’s sweeping collection of communications data worldwide. It was created after the leaks of secret government documents by former government security contractor Edward Snowden,” Runningen reports. “‘I’ll be proposing some self-restraint on the NSA and to initiate some reforms to give people more confidence,’ Obama said yesterday in an interview on MSNBC’s ‘Hardball With Chris Matthews’ program. Americans, he said, ‘rightly are sensitive to needs to preserve their privacy and to maintain Internet freedom, and so am I.'”

“Obama’s action on recommendations from the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications may have consequences for Google Inc. (GOOG), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Facebook Inc. (FB) and Apple Inc. (AAPL) Technology companies are facing the loss of billions of dollars in overseas business, stricter regulations and erosion of consumer trust as a result of revelations that the NSA gained access to private networks to conduct surveillance,” Runningen reports. “Obama didn’t specify what kinds of limits he has in mind. He defended the agency’s data collection in general, citing the threats to U.S. banks, increasing online crime and terrorism.”

Runningen reports, “Obama said the surveillance disclosures, along with the botched rollout of the government’s the health-care website and allegations of Internal Revenue Service scrutiny of Tea Party groups, have contributed to an erosion of the public’s trust in government.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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  1. Good to see this is all taken care of now. Chris likely got a tingle up his leg from that one, as did all of the other facile-minded, low-information dunces.

    I feel so much better that Oblahblahblah is talking about possibly moving the wide open henhouse door a millimeter or so “shut” long after all of the chickens have been taken under his watch. Oh, sorry Progs, that’s right, the buck stops nowhere (except in his pocket) and nothing is Dear Leader’s fault in the bad joke that is the Oblahblahblah administration.

    Leading from behind.

    1. And, of course, let’s be clear about who is documented (as opposed to rumored) to have started the deliberate demolition of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution:

      The Neo-Conservatives, especially while acting as the George W. Bush Administration.

      IOW: To hell with both political parties, including First-Then’s pals.

      1. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

        Now, I will educate you, as you are sorely in need of it:

        The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency’s use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans’ communications in its massive databases, according to interviews with government officials and recently declassified material.

        In addition, the court extended the length of time that the NSA is allowed to retain intercepted U.S. communications from five years to six years — and more under special circumstances, according to the documents, which include a recently released 2011 opinion by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, then chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

        What had not been previously acknowledged is that the court in 2008 [DURING THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION] imposed an explicit ban — at the government’s request — on those kinds of searches, that officials in 2011 [DURING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION] got the court to lift the bar and that the search authority has been used.

        Together the permission to search and to keep data longer expanded the NSA’s authority in significant ways without public debate or any specific authority from Congress. The administration’s assurances rely on legalistic definitions of the term “target” that can be at odds with ordinary English usage. The enlarged authority is part of a fundamental shift in the government’s approach to surveillance: collecting first, and protecting Americans’ privacy later.

        “The government says, ‘We’re not targeting U.S. persons,’ ” said Gregory T. Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “But then they never say, ‘We turn around and deliberately search for Americans’ records in what we took from the wire.’ That, to me, is not so different from targeting Americans at the outset.”

        The court decision allowed the NSA “to query the vast majority” of its e-mail and phone call databases using the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of Americans and legal residents without a warrant, according to Bates’s opinion.

        The queries must be “reasonably likely to yield foreign intelligence information.” And the results are subject to the NSA’s privacy rules.

        The court in 2008 imposed a wholesale ban on such searches at the government’s request, said Alex Joel, civil liberties protection officer at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The government included this restriction “to remain consistent with NSA policies and procedures that NSA applied to other authorized collection activities,” he said.

        But in 2011, to more rapidly and effectively identify relevant foreign intelligence communications, “we did ask the court” to lift the ban, ODNI general counsel Robert S. Litt said in an interview. “We wanted to be able to do it,” he said, referring to the searching of Americans’ communications without a warrant.

        Joel gave hypothetical examples of why the authority was needed, such as when the NSA learns of a rapidly developing terrorist plot and suspects that a U.S. person may be a conspirator. Searching for communications to, from or about that person can help assess that person’s involvement and whether he is in touch with terrorists who are surveillance targets, he said. Officials would not say how many searches have been conducted.

        The court’s expansion of authority went largely unnoticed when the opinion was released, but it formed the basis for cryptic warnings last year by a pair of Democratic senators, Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Mark Udall (Colo.), that the administration had a “back-door search loophole” that enabled the NSA to scour intercepted communications for those of Americans. They introduced legislation to require a warrant, but they were barred by classification rules from disclosing the court’s authorization or whether the NSA was already conducting such searches.

        “The [surveillance] Court documents declassified recently show that in late 2011 the court authorized the NSA to conduct warrantless searches of individual Americans’ communications using an authority intended to target only foreigners,” Wyden said in a statement to The Washington Post. “Our intelligence agencies need the authority to target the communications of foreigners, but for government agencies to deliberately read the e-mails or listen to the phone calls of individual Americans, the Constitution requires a warrant.”

        Source: The Washington Post, September 07, 2013

        1. Gosh! You must think you are really importat. Anything you say on your cel phone would be important for President Obama to know. “Mr. President! Mr. Important just ordered a pizza! With anchovies! Call out the National Guard!”

        2. By all means necessary, First-Then, divert the readers away from the crimes of the political party you champion. Excellent propaganda skills. I wonder where you learned them. Just kidding. I know where you learned them. 😛

          1. First-Then seems unable to comprehend that this is an Apple forum, not a soap box for political platitudes.

            Even if Firs-Thent had reasonable ideas and accurate complete facts, his condescending and divisive manner makes all reasonable intelligent people walk away.

            It’s not that the GOP never had great ideas. Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower were amongst the greatest leaders of the world — but not because they happened to be a part of First-Then’s party, but because these great men subdued the partisan hacks of their party and instead did great things for the long-term good of the whole country.

            First-Then, like all partisan hacks, uses bully tactics to disguise the selfish greed (or that of his handlers) that propels his political wishes. Nothing First-Then has ever proposed would make Americans on the whole healthier, happier, safer, sustainable, or otherwise improved. But his proposals would shift more power toward the corporate executives who control BOTH corrupt political parties.

            Crony capitalism and corrupt political party puppets are choking America’s prosperity, and NEITHER political party wants to change the status quo. Their kickbacks depend on gridlock and pork, after all.

      2. And, by the way, in case anybody doesn’t already know, the straw man argument that “both parties are the same” is an old-time political play that attempts to tar the opposition with the mistakes and sins of the party in power.

        Both parties most certainly are not the same, not at all. Conservatism is quite distinct from the failed policies of the progressives. Even a RINO is significantly different from a Blue Dog Democrat.

        Conservatives believe in limited government and personal responsibility – which also means personal freedom.

        Progressives (Liberals, Democrat party) believe that government, in all of its corrupted, bloated, bureaucratic majesty can actually solve more problems that it creates despite reams of historical (and current) evidence to the contrary. (The Progs will now contemplate coming out of the woodwork with their shopworn tales of federal highway systems and national parks as if this justifies placing federal bureaucrats between you and your doctor with the IRS forcing you to pay up or else).

        Remember this post when you vote. It matters.

        Remember also: Experience matters. Character matters.

        1. There is no difference in the policies of The Messiah, Dubya, Horndog Billy and CIA George. All are predicated on the gradual destruction of individual liberty, the dismantling of American economic power, the enrichment of international banking through illegal, undeclared wars…this has been the consistent policy of the Federal government since the coup coup d’état of 1963, with a brief respite during The Reagan Years.

          1. Actually, it depends on the specific policies. Your brush is too wide.

            After Obama (Carter on steroids) the U.S. is now perfectly primed for Reagan II. God willing, we’ll get there again. It could save the country.

            1. WHAT ‘Reagan II’? Is he going to be reanimated from the grave?

              Recall, dear First-Then, that it was Reagan I who called the Neo-Conservatives ‘The Crazies’.

              IOW: I respect actual Conservatives. I have zero respect for the Neo-Conservatives, such as yourself. You can stop waving the corpse of Reagan I around in the air like a banner. He hated your Neo-Conservative bullshit as much as I do.

            1. Now, now, Botty. We’ve talked about these little rants of yours. Your dad and I would be very, very sad to see you have a heart attack at your age of 14.

        2. Politics is like driving a car. Put it in “R” to go backwards, put it in “D” to go forwards.

          The National Park System and Interstate Highway System were both started under Republican Presidents (Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower). The current crop of Republicans aren’t those guys at all. If you want to go back to the way Republicans balanced the budget in the ’50s and paid for WWII, fine. Eisenhower was a pretty good Republican. But the current “Make rich guys richer” tinkle-down strategy won’t get the job done.

          The current version of the Affordable Care Act is an abomination in its entirety, with some good features around the edges. Unfortunately it is the only bill the Republicans would vote for. Their current Greek Chorus is pretty disingenuous. Since 1981 Republicans have held the White House 20 out of 32 years. No healthcare reforms were ever attempted during a Republican administration, even though bankruptcies due to medical bill were on the rise. The current (employer)>(health insurance company)>(health care provider)>(sick citizen) system doesn’t work. But its basic structure isn’t affected by ACA, only some of the behaviors of insurance companies. Come forth with a better National plan. Not some chopped up state by state hodgepodge. Remember, it’s “One Nation”.

          Everyone needs health care, no one needs health insurance.

    2. Your arrogance, and demeaning name calling discredits your arguments right up front to my mind.
      If you happen to be a genuinely open minded, well informed and well intended person,then said same name calling etc discredits and misrepresents your character.
      Do you have any respect? Then show it.

      This little sermon applies to all trollies be they here on commentary threads, or on the biggest of the”news” media outlets. This nation and our culture are sorely in need of some mutual respect and basic manners.

      1. Sadly you are correct. These political trolls have made it so unbearable, so exhausting to visit what should be a fun site as an Apple enthusiast that doing nothing no longer seams appropriate. I have been visiting this site daily, since the year it went live. I used to submit stories to them. Now it is an ad-crazed top frothing mess, but still beats visiting a dozen mac sites and scanning the headlines.

        That said, I am now going to exercise zero restraint. I will call them out, tell em what I think they are, I will troll the trolls. Fight fire with fire as they say.

        Fuck these assholes…

  2. Facile, low information dunces… Like yourself, you mean. Let’s start the flame war right by getting you out of your parent’a basement, away from Faux News and Rush and out into the light where you might actually learn something you two bit troll. Good golly! Get a life!

    1. If you are afraid the government might be listening in on your phone calls, you must be planning a terrorist attack. Why do you think your inane mutterings are worth listening to?

      1. You obviously don’t know history,

        The Germans simply collected a whole bunch of information and then at once used that information to collect a whole bunch of innocent people and stuck them in boxes full of gas just because they had a particular belief

        are you willing to analyze all your beliefs and think that any government at any time may not consider any of your beliefs as being worthy of being gassed?

        do you believe in god? maybe that will be the criteria for gassing, or even knowing someone who does…

        remember this information will be held through administrations, through revolutions, through everything and you will be scrutinized in the future….

        this is not paranoia this is history

        get used to it

    2. Perhaps the reason the NSA felt so emboldened to snoop people’s communications is because a large percentage of Americans freely give away their freedom to corporate entities — everything from shopping clubs to “social networking” to “cloud computing” — including Apple’s forays in these areas — are all designed foremost to be data mining by corporate entities.

      If citizens actually cared about freedom and privacy, they would reject corporate intrusions into their private lives and elect representatives that would legislate against ANY snooping by ANY entity, government or corporate or private. But since both corrupt political parties are controlled by corporate funders, not the voters, the results of increasingly lazy consumer idiocy and voter apathy are plain for all to see.

  3. Obama didn’t specify what kinds of limits he has in mind.

    How about the limits specified in The US Constitution? That’s a good start, President ‘Constitutional Scholar’.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    It could happen!

    Oh and F*CK you NSA.

    1. Gosh! You must think you are really importat. Anything you say on your cel phone would be important for President Obama to know. “Mr. President! Mr. Important just ordered a pizza! With anchovies! Call out the National Guard!”

        1. Yes, but your mask was ripped off ages ago. We know what you are. You state it loudly in your nick! You’re just a propagandist. So sure, blether on and on. It’s just more propaganda, entirely ignorable, entirely disingenuous.

          1. First… why don’t you just piss off and go to any one of thousands of political discussion sites out there?

            I suspect it is because out there your drivel would be lost in the tsunami of political sniping, whereas here you get to feel oh-so-important since your drivel is (very unfortunately) very visible.

  4. “Plans to” and “propose” mean he isn’t doing squat. He’s just trying to make it look like he is to try to save a bit of face.

    “I’ll be proposing some self-restraint on the NSA and to initiate some reforms to give people more confidence.”

    See? Self-restraint doesn’t work. Not with this government. (ref: Budget Deficit) And his proposals are for what purpose? “To give people more confidence.” Not to actually do anything but make you feel better about it.

    Total crap.

  5. He’s just pressing S.T.O…..and then he’ll forget to press the P to actually stop it. He’s just promising to stop it, that’s all.

    The S.T.O.P will come right before he presses the F.U. button to the electorate.

  6. More excused from getting their hand caught in the cookie jar. Any arrests, any pardon for Snowden, or even a thank you for what he’s done? Nope, just a proposal to curb on spying a proposal that would not even come about if it wasn’t for Snowden revealing more of the disgusting immoral acts that is demonstrating how much the US is now a threat to global security and a total joke when it comes to morality and ethics.

  7. What is the purpose of arguing (on an apple, inc. news site no less) about politics on the internet? Why do a vocal minority of users on this site always jump at the opportunity to bash each other? Do you really think you have any chance of changing anybody’s mind by posting on MDN articles? It all seems about as productive and impactful as punching yourself in the face.

    1. It’s not even as productive as punching themselves in the face. That, at least, would have some natural limits with fatigue or pain. Here they can just go on and on and on and on …. and on.

    2. I agree – all this Democrat vs Republican bullshit just reveals a really low level of thinking. How daft does someone have to be to think any good comes from arguing team-politics in a comment thread. Politics should be about ideas, and solutions, not teams.

      Also, the name calling and hostility reveal a profound lack of self-respect and intellectual ability.

      1. Yes & No. The name calling and hostility (on my part) is from YEARS of listening to the same idiots here say the same tired shit. Over and over and over again. For me it isn’t about being productive, or changing them. I simply try to irritate them as they do me. Maybe if the din of this noise gets much worse MDN will develop a real website (with the ad money that must be rolling in) with a real commenting feature. (wordpress ain’t cutting it is it MDN?) The day these idiots stop the off topic crap, so will I.

        Yes, I could just not come back (Like several people I know have done), but I like the aggregate service MDN provides, and will not allow them (or anyone else) to run me off.

        I like that there are reasonable and fun people who also post, they make it worthwhile. I do hate the ads and the lightboxing, especially on my iPad.

        1. I encourage you to post thoughtful polite replies if you feel the need to respond to bozos. Even if the person you reply doesn’t appreciate it, any quality person here because of a genuine interest in Mac news certainly will.

          Apple inspires me. Steve Jobs inspired me. Intelligent friendly insightful comments on MacDailyNews inspire me.

          People who come here to fight don’t inspire me or anyone.

  8. Yeah, Obama is going to get right on this NSA problem immediately after he concludes his 156th meeting with IRS officials to discuss the tax status and private information of conservative groups and individuals.

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