AirTalk for December 19, 2013

Presidential advisors call for sweeping limits of NSA, surveillance

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, as seen from the air.

Feeling cumulative pressure from tech companies, foreign leaders and some American constituencies, yesterday the White House released a report with 46 recommendations for reforming U.S. surveillance, including the National Security Agency.

The report by an advisory panel, entitled “Liberty and Security in a Changing World,” most notably says the government should not keep a database of Americans’ phone activities. However, it says the”metadata” can be handed over to a third party or be kept by communications companies. 

The report also calls for more stringent overviews of the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court and of foreign spying activities – such the alleged cellphone-tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The White House says President Barack Obama is reviewing the recommendations.

What are the odds the reforms will take effect? Do they go far enough or too far?

Guest:

Chip Pitts, Lecturer in Law, Stanford University; Advisory Board EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center)

Geoffrey S Corn, veteran Army prosecutor, retired lieutenant colonel. Professor of law at South Texas College of Law. He started his career in intelligence.


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