Obama officially proposes bill to strip the NSA of its power to collect call data in bulk

Obama officially proposes bill to strip the NSA of its power to collect call data in bulk

UPDATE: US President Barack Obama has formally proposed putting an end to the government collecting or holding call data in bulk. The data will instead remain with phone companies for the length of time it currently does today, while the government can get such data only via a court order, and if a judge agrees based on national security concerns.

In a statement, Obama says:

I believe this approach will best ensure that we have the information we need to meet our intelligence needs while enhancing public confidence in the manner in which the information is collected and held.  My team has been in touch with key Congressional leadership — including from the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees — and we are committed to working with them to see legislation passed as soon as possible.

Our original story is as follows.

Obama is preparing to take the wraps off a legislative proposal that would put an end to the government spy agency’s systematic collection of call data, the New York Times reports.

These call records would stay with phone companies instead, and they wouldn’t need to retain the data for any longer than the 18 months that federal regulations normally require. The NYT reports that under the terms of the legislative proposal, the NSA will only be able to access specific records by seeking permission from a judge who needs to determine whether the standard of suspicion has been met, and via a new kind of court order.

The new court order will require phone companies to provide call records in a technologically compatible data format, and to continue providing data about any new calls placed or received after the order has been issued, officials tell the NYT. It would also give the government permission to get related records for callers up to two calls removed from the number that is under suspicion, even if they are customers from other companies.

➤ Obama to Call for End to N.S.A.’s Bulk Data Collection [New York Times]

Headline image via Paul Faith/WPA Pool/Getty Images

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