US President Obama wants to end the collection of telephone data by the NSA. A bill to that effect is being prepared, he said.
NSA powers will be restricted a bit. Picture: ap
US President Barack Obama wants to end the mass collection of phone data by the NSA intelligence agency, according to a newspaper report. As the New York Times reported on its website on Monday, Obama is preparing a bill according to which the National Security Agency (NSA) should only have access to certain data in exceptional cases.
The NSA should "end the systematic collection of data on Americans’ phone habits," the newspaper wrote, citing unnamed senior government officials.
According to the report, the data would be stored by the private telephone companies, but no longer than they normally would. The NSA should only be allowed to access certain data with the permission of a judge. The U.S. government wants the current spying program to be extended one last time for 90 days, after which it should end, the NYT reported.
In parallel with the government, according to the Washington Post, members of the House Intelligence Committee are preparing a bipartisan bill. This would protect U.S. citizens from spying on their telephone activity, but would allow data collection on suspicion of espionage and terrorism. The draft, intended as a compromise, is to be presented Tuesday, he said.
NSA chief-designate Michael Rogers had defended the surveillance of phone data before the U.S. Senate two weeks ago. "The ability to quickly check terrorist-related phone records is critical," he had said. The NSA intelligence agency’s mass phone data collection must continue, he said.
The NSA’s extensive spying activities, revealed last year by former intelligence official Edward Snowden, have caused outrage around the world. The NSA also spied on friendly governments.