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Sens. Wyden and Mark Udall introduce the Intelligence Oversight and Surveillance Reform Act
The review group President Obama convened on the National Security Agency has made its recommendations for curbing the NSA's surveillance activities in light of the revelations about the agency's programs from the materials leaked by Edward Snowden. The review board clearly recognized the risks in the government's mass spying on Americans and foreigners, and recognized that the NSA has gone way too far.
The report’s authors made clear that they were weighing the N.S.A.’s surveillance requirements against other priorities like constitutional protections for privacy and economic considerations for American businesses. The report came just three days after a federal judge in Washington ruled that the bulk collection of telephone data by the government was “almost Orwellian” and a day after Silicon Valley executives complained to Mr. Obama that the N.S.A. programs were undermining American competitiveness in offering cloud services or selling American-made hardware, which is now viewed as tainted. [...]

Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who has been an outspoken critic of N.S.A. surveillance, said it echoed the arguments of the N.S.A.’s skeptics in significant ways, noting that it flatly declared that the phone-logging program had not been necessary in stopping terrorist attacks.

The report echoes many of the concerns of NSA critics, including U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, who ruled the National Security Agency's bulk collection of metadata was likely unconstitutional. The panel found that "the information contributed to terrorist investigations by the use of section 215 telephony metadata was not essential to preventing attacks and could readily have been obtained in a timely manner using conventional section 215 orders," (page 104). Some of the 46 recommendations of the group mirror what's included in legislation from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to curb the NSA, including an advocate in the secret FISA court to argue against the NSA.

One of the most important recommendations, however, is potentially one of the most dangerous. The review group advises maintaining bulk collection of electronic data, but that it be held with the telecommunications companies rather than the government, accessed by warrants as necessary. Masses of data being held by the companies, where Leahy's bill, with its companion in the House from Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) would end bulk collection outright.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 03:08 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (36+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 03:08:41 PM PST

  •  Are these guys ever going to be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein

    ...slated for hearings before Congress?  The ones with the SEC come to mind.

    Suggestion for Facebook: 50 free "starter friends" automatically as soon as you sign up.

    by dov12348 on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 03:13:46 PM PST

  •  The fundamental issue was not addressed: (17+ / 0-)

    The NSA is basically a for-profit, corporate control entity (because of the revolving door corruption between top public and private sector officials).

    Top officials when they are working for the NSA basically act in the for-profit interest of their next employer when they leave office (like BoozAllen, and others); thus, there is an incentive to constantly expand the market, and the profits, following the quarterly demands of Wall Street.

    Let's remember, more than 70 percent of the national intelligence budget goes to private contractors like BoozAllen.

    There have already been revelations of how the data being collected is being used by corporate spy networks to target social justice activists and groups (who are seemed as threats to corporate profits because of their activism).

    Therefore, in my opinion, anything short of completely stopping indiscriminate data collection on innocent citizens, no matter who is collecting the information, is a farce when it comes to "reforms" or "curbs."  And it is unconstitutional.

     

    •  I would like to see new laws that state... (9+ / 0-)

      Once a person leaves public service, they cannot be given a security clearance for four to six years in the private sector.  Private contractors entering public service with a security clearance cannot retain or regain that clearance for a period of two years.  

      All government employees cannot have contact in an official manner with current co-workers, departments or government projects that could potentially have a conflict of interest, create potential bias or expose and unfair advantage based on departmental secrets or relationships if the government employee leaves their position and takes a new job with a business seeking a government contract, financial assistence or is lobbying the government in any way for a period of four years.

      This will drastically slow the revolving door that is in Washington and remove some of the incentives currently waved in front of government employees to gain unfair advantages.

      "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

      by Buckeye Nut Schell on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 03:49:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mike Masnick of Techdirt pointed out a strange (18+ / 0-)

    detail in the report.


    Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial system.
    http://www.techdirt.com/...

    It's difficult to know what the context is here, but I'm guessing they didn't include that just for fun.

    Apparently nothing will ever teach these people that the other 99 percent of the population exist. —George Orwell

    by ukit on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 03:38:51 PM PST

  •  I guess this is the end of American dominance (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, koNko, Gentle Giant, happymisanthropy

    of the world telecom and Internet biz.  On the other hand, it may be the start of good times for parts of the EU tech biz.

    We're poisoning our biggest international exports and acting as if the rest of the world is so primitive and backwards that it has no choice.

    •  I now realize... (0+ / 0-)

      You must work for Google or one of the other companies that is vacuuming up data.  

      I agree with you that what NSA is doing is toxic.  I disagree with you that the companies are innocent.  The real solution is to curb them from collecting so much data.  If there were less to look at, there would be less looking.  

      The Wanderer, from somewhere over the Pacific...

      by Wanderer1961 on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 10:48:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think they're innocent. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AaronInSanDiego, AoT

        I just don't think it's relevant in comparison to the danger of the US military compiling all this information on its citizens in a democracy.  

        And no, I don't work for Google.  I'm unemployed.  Why would you be so insulting as to go there?  Just because you disagree with me?

  •  It's a start. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, happymisanthropy, J M F

    Thump! Bang. Whack-boing. It's dub!

    by dadadata on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 06:58:59 PM PST

  •  This diary should be getting more attention. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnathan Ivan, koNko, Gentle Giant, T100R

    All of the interest and passion this issue generates, and this important news doesn't hit the rec list?

    Good reporting, Joan.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 07:23:30 PM PST

  •  I have a better idea (5+ / 0-)

    Change all locks on NSA buildings and rebuild the organization with new leadership from the ground up.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 09:50:56 AM PST

    •  And take it out of the hands of the military (8+ / 0-)

      How can some people be so blase about the most pervasive spying apparatus in history being under the control of the military?

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 09:59:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually the profit-driven private sector is much (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, J M F

        worse. NSA powers can not be given over to mercenaries.

        •  They aren't really separate (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          maryabein, J M F

          The military is just as privatized as the NSA is. That's worrying as well.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 11:00:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  How does a profit-driven company make money (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            from information? By selling it.
            Of course the private sector is much worse.
            If a private company received a bounty for killing terrorists
            you better believe there would be a lot more drone killings.

            •  I'm pretty sure that private firms (0+ / 0-)

              are currently involved in drone strikes in a number of ways. Most of those strikes are decided on by statistical analysis, which is probably designed by a private company. We don't know that there are companies actually carrying out the strikes themselves, but at this point I wouldn't be surprised at all.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 12:41:20 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Private Sector Worse? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, Sparhawk

          When was the last time a private company put someone in prison or targeted and killed in a drone strike with "acceptable collateral damage" of innocents?

          Targeted ads are not as bad as targeted hellfire missiles.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 11:35:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yet if these companies (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            supply the data that allows people to be military targets aren't they partly culpable?  They appear to be profiting from sharing their information.

            "You want to be a bit compulsive in your art or craft or whatever you do." Steve Martin

            by Kristin in WA on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 11:49:07 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Info provided after a court order. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sparhawk

              The government does not pay the companies for the data, and in fact impose significant costs to Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, etc..

              The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

              by nextstep on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 11:54:30 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Booz Allen does profit from these things (0+ / 0-)

                The issue isn't that google and others are profiting, it's that a majority of the NSA budget goes to private firms. Snowden got all this information when he was at Booz. Not to mention various other private firms that carry out policy.

                If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

                by AoT on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 12:01:39 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  NSA operates with significant resources, many (0+ / 0-)

                  of which will be purchased from the private sector - computers, networking equipment, internet access, software, IT services, etc..

                  Many NSA employees earn good pay and benefits and profit from their employment.

                  These businesses and employees are not the driving reason that the US has the NSA nor do they direct what the NSA does. Pres Obama has far, far, far greater influence on what the NSA does and does not do than other the NSA vendors combined.

                  Snowden also received much of his info when he was at Dell.  See Snowden downloaded NSA secrets while working for Dell, sources say

                  The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                  by nextstep on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 12:24:40 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Blackwater cmes to mind (0+ / 0-)

            Or whatever they're calling themselves. The Pinkertons. How much of the CIA rendition program was privatized? I don't know if the private side is worse yet, but it's trending that way.

            If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

            by AoT on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 11:49:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  current files (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk, JML9999, Gentle Giant, J M F

    Any recommendation that the current billions of files and profiles of Americans be deleted?

    •  There will always be "red files". J. Edgar was (0+ / 0-)

      the figurehead who first took knowledge-is-power to maximum heights because blackmail was the motivator for him within no one being immune except perhaps his own mother.  Perhaps.  The current files that have interest have already been set aside, I'm sure.

      Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

      by judyms9 on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 10:28:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  dont believe it (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Publius2008, Gentle Giant, T100R

    Gov always wants more control and info on their citizens so this is a  fake punt. but most Americans will buy it and the NSA will continue to do its spying on all Americans. ie under more secrecy of course.

    When communism failed in the  soviet union Americans cheered and I stated that American capitalism was next. then they jeered my remarks.

    Americans capitalism is self destructing right in front of our eyes. third world is coming to America one family at a time.

    If not for trillions of borrowed and printed money America would be close to third world now.

    Americans love their wars but not so much the taxes to pay for them. they will deny this statement but evidence says otherwise.

  •  Hopefully the Goverment will shutter some of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT

    these facilities like Utah and Augusta and stop shoving billions down holes in the ground.

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 09:55:36 AM PST

  •  Perhaps Obama can turn over the (6+ / 0-)

    recommendations to that Democratic power-broker, Senator Feinstein.

    I think she has some ideas on how to address the issues.

    /sarcasm

    The 1% are Purists: They only support Candidates that Deliver Results They Can Bank On. Don't they know they should compromise? /sarcasm

    by Johnathan Ivan on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 09:57:18 AM PST

  •  It's a start. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AoT, Gentle Giant, maryabein

    I don't have time to read the report right now, but I'm curious if there's anything in it about enforcement--i.e., if some or all of these changes are made, who monitors, how are things enforced, etc.

    But it is nice to see the "because terrorism" line, whether made on this site or elsewhere, debunked.

  •  I suspect if the telecoms (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gentle Giant, T100R, J M F

    held the data, the NSA would figure out a way to get it whether the telecoms consented or not.

    They really need to revamp the entire structure of the NSA, get rid of the bad apples and essentially start over again in a more a Constitution-regarding and regulated way.  Spy agencies are not to be trusted and require close oversight, not matter what they promise to do.

    "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

    by Publius2008 on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 10:11:17 AM PST

    •  Reset the laws to pre-9/11/2001. (0+ / 0-)

      A "previous version" reset. Undo the GWB-era and current era changes.

      Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by Gentle Giant on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 10:25:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nice but no cigar (0+ / 0-)

      Your first sentence is on target.  But then you talk about revamping NSA.  Forget it.  The only way to stop this is to stop the companies from hoarding the data in the first place.  

      The Wanderer, from somewhere over the Pacific...

      by Wanderer1961 on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 10:50:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  For the record, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko, T100R, happymisanthropy

    I was only looking at "those" websites for research purposes.

    Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Gentle Giant on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 10:12:42 AM PST

  •  I'm confident that the same people in power (6+ / 0-)

    who have either supported or done nothing regarding the NSA and other out-of-control government agencies will enthusiastically embrace any reforms, no matter how impotent such reforms are.

    In essence, there will be no Change You Can Believe In because those in positions of power have shown no inclination to do anything other than support the Security State.

    Why would they suddenly decide to change course?

    It's like putting a Wall Street Predator in as Treasury Secretary and expecting he won't look after Wall Street (and his own) interests.

    The mainstream "left" (aka Democratic "left") is morally and ethically bankrupt beyond ken.  It is content with symbolism, empty rhetoric, and claps at the success of "reports" and "commissions" that are nothing more than symbolism.  Until there are actual repercussions (jail, fines, bankruptcy) for the Kleptocracy Power Elite, there will be no change.

    Democratic Power brokers such as Feinstein publicly defend the NSA and seek to pass legislation that would allow them to continue un-checked.

    A Democratic President embraces those who lie to Congress about the NSA, placing them into positions of power.

    Wall Street Predators run the Treasury department and "serve" as Chief of Staff to the President.

    Monsanto has a special spot at the FDA.

    And on it goes.  Without surcease.

    And for all the "outrage", the best the Democratic "left" can achieve are blue-ribbon commissions issuing reports whose recommendations - at best - are nothing more than speed bumps and which will be entrusted to those in power who have shown time and again they support the Security State.

    Let's suppose I instituted some minor reforms impacting the oil industry.  And then I hired an Oil company CEO to oversee such modest regulations.  What would be the expected outcome?

    And that's where we find ourselves today.

    I am tired of the "Reagan Revolution" started in 1980. It's time to wake up, raise hell, and fight back.  And those who would profess to be our Generals / Leaders should not themselves be tools of the Corporate 1% Predator Class.  

    There should be no room in the Democratic Party for the Predator Elite.  None.  Not one.  They should be expelled and hounded until the Democratic Party is comprised of those willing to advance the working class' issues by deed and word, with elected officials whose heart is aligned to the working class and who will thus fight, using their power against the Predator Elite.

    Folks like Alan Grayson and Bernie Sanders come to mind.  People like Max Baucus (who was recently given a plum Ambassadorship), Feinstein, and other Predator Elites should find themselves evicted, rather than wielding power within the Democratic Party's Leadership ranks.

    The 1% are Purists: They only support Candidates that Deliver Results They Can Bank On. Don't they know they should compromise? /sarcasm

    by Johnathan Ivan on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 10:15:53 AM PST

  •  Seems like this powderpuff 'fix' will be enough (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gentle Giant, Bush Bites

    to ease the sale of tin foil.  Nothing really changes, but for book cover readers who can't get past the headlines, its all good.

    As Richard Clarke said, the report would give “more reason for the skeptics in the public to believe their civil liberties are being protected.”  Hear, hear.  Obama is playing the long game, working for a successful 2014 election.  Tin foilers have seriously jeopardized a Nancy Pelosi House and now the Senate is in play.  Just think of all the fun that awaits us if we give the Senate away and keep Boehner, because the collection of metadata is tyrannical, and the breach of 40 million Target customers is no big whoop because that's all in the private sector.. and we trust them wholeheartedly.

    It burns...

    'Slower Traffic - Keep Right!'

    by luvbrothel on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 10:23:46 AM PST

  •  I'm not optimistic (4+ / 0-)

    So far I have read about half-way through the report and should finish-up tomorrow.

    What I have read so far I would categorize as:

    (a) treating symptoms not disease

    (b) small chunks of red meat apparently intended to placate critics in the advocacy and IT communities, neither of which will bite

    (d) headline grabbers that seem to be intended as a diversionary tactic since there is close to zero chance of adoption, like appointing a civilian head, which we know won't happen in a military organization and would fix nothing, but give CNN et al something to chew on

    An interesting counter-point is the revelation NSA spent much time spying on terrorist organizations like Unesco and  Médecins du Monde, work essential to their mission of protecting America and her allies, bla, bla, bla ...

  •  The exclusive focus on NSA is wrong (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    J M F

    The idea that we can curb the NSA while allowing the companies to continue hoarding data is ludicrous.  First, if not the NSA, then other agencies will access it (and already are).  And in times of "emergency", won't the laws just go out the window?

    The only solution is to curb the collection of personal data by the companies.  People will scream, but that is the only way to put a stop to all this.

    The Wanderer, from somewhere over the Pacific...

    by Wanderer1961 on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 10:41:26 AM PST

  •  Surveillance? OK. Tainting their "cloud" biz? Now (3+ / 0-)

    the government has gone too far!

  •  Google or should I say Skynet? (0+ / 0-)

    I can imagine Google or Yahoo handing over NSA files to
    China en masse if it would open the Chinese ( or Brazilian)market to them.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/..._(Terminator)

  •  One of my favorite parts of the report reads: (0+ / 0-)

    "Americans must never make the mistake of wholly 'trusting' our public officials," the report concluded.

    http://abcnews.go.com/...

    Very true. We can trust, but we must verify.  Always verify.  

    Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket. Eric Hoffer

    by LynChi on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 11:21:34 AM PST

    •  Problem is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      J M F

      we can't verify when everything is done in secret. And unless that is really fixed we'll end right back to square one. One lousy (or even great) person sitting in on a FISA hearing just ain't gonna cut it. Another thing while I'm ranting, we absolutely need to find out how many convictions were obtained using tainted evidence and how that information was given to local law enforcement. Heads do need to roll on this before I have any confidence that the NSA is under some control.

  •  This is dangerous in more ways than one. (0+ / 0-)
    One of the most important recommendations, however, is potentially one of the most dangerous. The review group advises maintaining bulk collection of electronic data, but that it be held with the telecommunications companies rather than the government, accessed by warrants as necessary.
    There is no entity on the planet I trust less than my local telecommunications company. This info will be misused and abused by them.

    Keep it centralized with the NSA.

    •  They already have access to the information (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FG

      The telcoms already have the info. There's nothing stopping them from misusing it now.

      If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

      by AoT on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 12:05:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but having it be legally sanctioned would be (0+ / 0-)

        much worse.

        •  They're legally allowed to store it (0+ / 0-)

          right now. This would just force them to store it instead of giving them the right to do so.

          If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

          by AoT on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 02:50:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Just forward it to NSA. Don't mess around with it (0+ / 0-)

            locally. Will be abused in the worst way locally.

            •  Then it would already be a problem (0+ / 0-)

              Storing it a the NSA means that there's more people who have access to it and it's less safe. More locations means it's more likely to be misused. And it will always have to go through the ISP. And it isn't as if the data is restricted to government employees at the NSA. It's available to various private security firms like Booz Allen, where Snowden worked. The same companies that target anti-corporate activists.

              If knowledge is power and power corrupts, does that mean that knowledge corrupts?

              by AoT on Fri Dec 20, 2013 at 03:07:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know how I feel about that... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      J M F

      I uncomfortable with any database that stored all our messages and private info. The NSA doesn't appear to respect any authority.

      •  At least NSA is far removed from local politics. (0+ / 0-)

        In Alaska, telecommunications are the worst industries around for bad policy and bad politics.

        And it's all local here.

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