A White House-appointed panel has proposed curbs on some key National Security Agency surveillance operations, which will hopefully rein in some of the activities of the spying agency.
The panel was set up by President Barrack Obama in response to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations over NSA’s surveillance of private citizens.
Here’s a breakdown of what the recommendations boil down to:
1. It asks for a shut down of the secret collection of bulk phone database. However, the metadata records wouldn’t disappear, just change ownership:“We recognize that the government might need access to such meta-data, which should be held instead either by private providers or by a private third party,” says the report.
2. An independent body has to be established to monitor government programs that may breach on civilian privacy and liberty.
3. A closure of loopholes that may lead to “backdoor” spying through United States-based tech companies; at the same time strengthening protection measures for whistleblowers in the intelligence community. It requires for tightening of security-clearances and a prohibition of using for-profit contractors.
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4. Finally it makes the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) more accountable to the people by increasing transparency. Also, Congress is now to divide the power between all Supreme Court justices, as opposed to now, where only the U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice can appoint a judge to the secret court.
The 300-page report also proposed greater scrutiny of decisions to spy on friendly foreign leaders, a practice that has recently outraged U.S. allies around the world and put a noticeable dent in Us’s foreign relations.