Thursday, December 19, 2013

Good news on spying?

The White House's review of the NSA is recommending that they stop mass-surveillance:

The National Security Agency should be banned from attempting to undermine the security of the internet and stripped of its power to collect telephone records in bulk, a White House review panel recommended on Wednesday.

In a 300-page report prepared for President Obama, the panel made 46 recommendations, including that the authority for spying on foreign leaders should be granted at a higher level than at present.

Though far less sweeping than campaigners have urged, and yet to be ratified by Obama, the report by his Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology comes as the White House faces growing pressure over its so-called “bulk collection” programs from US courts and business interests.

Though its worth noting that when they say "stripped of its power to collect telephone records in bulk", what they actually mean is "phone companies should do it for them and give them access on demand". There are changes around judicial oversight and reasonable cause around that, but its still not the change we're looking for. The only way we'll get that is if we vote out the spies: elect politicians who will cut their budgets, strip them of powers, and shut them down. But with the NSA holding blackmail on everybody in their databases, that could be difficult.