Privacy concerns have come to the front and center of the national conversation following revelations about the breadth and depth of information being collected by the National Security Agency that leaked in the summer of 2013. On Mar 25, lawmakers plan to unveil their plans to revamp the collection process, in a move they hope will assuage public privacy concerns.
As it stands now, rather than selectively cultivating intelligence information, the NSA is fed large stockpiles of email, phone and Internet data from service providers, which it then sifts through for possible intelligence information.
The House Intelligence Committee’s bill comes from Chairman Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) and Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D., Md.), and reportedly pushes the responsibility of record collection to phone companies, rather than allowing the NSA to compile information en masse. Under the new rules, phone companies would save information only when prompted to by the NSA and a copy of that directive would need to be approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).
A similar bill backed by the Obama administration would require FISA approval prior to the collection process. In both potential options, FISA would be required to evaluate and approve the way the process worked annually.
And yet another bill backed by House Judiciary Committee member James Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.) would require court approval for any collection activity, and would stop the wholesale collection of information regarding communications, financial and business records.
The current method of information collection is approved until March 28, if new rules cannot be agreed upon by then, they will remain in effect.
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