A series of government surveillance activities have hit the public eye after former National Security Agent Edward Snowden’s illegally released NSA documents outlining some of its surveillance programs with big privacy implications.
Recently, big tech companies wrote an open letter to the U.S. government addressing data collection, and eventually this spurred executives from various big-name technology companies to meet with President Obama for a discussion on government interference in the online realm. This led the White House to release a recommendation of changes to the NSA.
Yahoo’s Chief Executive Officer, Marrissa Mayer, told the president that the governments invasion of users privacy might have a divisive effect on international internet usage — countries could have conflicting policies — and there’s a risk to the market as concerns over tech security systems rise.
Now, according to the Washington Post, the White House is advocating that the NSA remove its phone database records so as to bolster American’s confidence in government surveillance. This was just one of forty recommended actions included within the White House review boards 200 page report.
Other suggestions included preventing the NSA from requesting secret entrance to companies software and from collecting hacking techniques when it discovers holes in the security of a security system. “As a matter of public policy, and harm reduction, the government needs to be in the business of reporting the vulnerabilities that is discovers so they can be fixed. That said, that doesn’t mean that the government can’t or wouldn’t be able to make use of cyber attack techniques, even if it does report them,” Matt Blaze, a cryptology expert, told the Washington Post.
The list of changes also recommended the removal of the NSA’s information assurance segment from its present place within the NSA. This would basically make a clear cut division between defensive and offensive government surveillance actions.