January 17, 2014 | By Rebecca Jeschke

Obama Takes First Steps Toward Reforming NSA Surveillance, but Leaves Many Issues Unaddressed

President Obama this morning announced a series of reforms his administration will support to rein in surveillance abuses by the National Security Agency.

"The President took several steps toward reforming NSA surveillance, but there's still a long way to go," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn.  "Now it's up to the courts, Congress, and the public to ensure that real reform happens, including stopping all bulk surveillance--not just telephone records collection. Other necessary reforms include requiring prior judicial review of national security letters and ensuring the security and encryption of our digital tools, but the President's speech made no mention of these.  We're hopeful that the big data and privacy review commissioned by John Podesta will address these issues and the further steps outlined in our scorecard. We also look forward to addressing the underlying constitutional problems with the surveillance in our ongoing lawsuits: Jewel v. NSA and First Unitarian Church v. NSA."

"It was encouraging to see the President recognize the privacy rights of people around the world," said International Rights Director Katitza Rodriguez.  "However, the details of Obama's plans to actually protect those privacy rights must conform with international human rights law, specifically that suspicion is necessary to target non-US person for surveillance."

EFF will have additional analysis of the recommendations soon on our Deeplinks blog


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