After Edward Snowden, former contractor with the National Security Agency, released documents revealing the intelligence agency’s collection of phone data, it had many calling for change in the security agency. Now, President Barack Obama has decided that for the present the data will not be transferring over to telecommunications companies.
The news comes as something of a relief to phone companies who didn’t want the extra burden, worried how it would affect business, and had concerns about possible law suits. The plan to use companies as an information middle man was suggested by a White House advisory panel, according to Bloomberg. “What matters is not so much the fact that they won’t be required to hold those records, but rather just to be out from any kind of requirements one way or another. That’s a big win for the carriers,” said Charles Golvin — technology industry analysts — to Bloomberg.
Friday the president will speak on his plans to curtail some of the NSA abilities, but the phone data is an issue that will be put to Congress it seems. “Congress has a responsibility to establish limits on government surveillance, so it’s entirely appropriate that Congress weigh in on the phone records program,” said Jeremy Bash — previously with the CIA and Pentagon — to the Washington Post.
“It’s impractical to presume the executive branch will hold itself fully accountable,” said Angela Canterbury of the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight and Accountability, according to Bloomberg. Advocates concerned with surveillance oversteps have said that they will turn pressure on to Congress should Obama fail to force the needed changes.
“It’s hard for the administration to totally disavow these intelligence collection programs, because it has always been for these programs prior to them being exposed in the press. The Justice Department claimed strongly to the Senate Intelligence Committee that this program was lawful, effective, and important,” said Mr. Bash — according to the Washington Post.