[discuss] EMBARGOED: Presidential Policy Directive -- Signals Intelligence Activities

Carlos A. Afonso ca at cafonso.ca
Sat Jan 18 15:32:25 UTC 2014

More on it, below.

frt rgds


On 01/17/2014 03:02 PM, Jorge Amodio wrote:
> Yes, it was an excellent speech.
> -Jorge



Some tech firms say Obama's surveillance plan is thin on details
Zach Miners @zachminers

    Jan 17, 2014 5:20 PM

The tech industry gave a mixed reaction Friday to President Obama’s
proposed government surveillance reforms, with some saying his plan for
curtailing abuse left either glossed-over details or was unclear.

The president on Friday proposed a series of reforms to the National
Security Agency’s surveillance methods, as part of an effort to strike a
better balance between privacy and national security.

”We’re concerned that the President didn’t address the most glaring
reform needs,” Mozilla said in a statement.

The Firefox browser maker raised a point made by others: Although the
plans include assigning new privacy advocates to a surveillance court,
and a shift away from the NSA’s bulk-phone-records-collection program,
they fall short of recommendations made by Obama’s own review panel.

Some of the elements missing, Mozilla said, are adequate protections for
the rights of foreigners and information about what the priorities will
be of the next director of the NSA. It was revealed in October that NSA
chief Keith Alexander would be stepping down.

”The President took several steps toward reforming NSA surveillance but
there’s still a long way to go,” said Cindy Cohn, legal director of the
Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy group, in a statement.

One of the issues the EFF wanted more clarity on was how President Obama
would address all bulk surveillance—not just phone records like the
length of calls and numbers dialed, but their content too.

Still others lamented the fact that the president’s speech made no
mention of encryption tools that could be used to keep people’s digital
data safe from government’s prying eyes.

The group Reform Government Surveillance, whose members include
Facebook, Google and Microsoft, said Obama’s proposals represented
progress on issues like government transparency and what companies will
be allowed to disclose, and reform of the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Court.

But “crucial details remain to be addressed on these issues, and
additional steps are needed on other important issues,” the group said.

A looming question is whether carriers might be required to hold onto
more phone record metadata that could be tapped by the government with
court approval. AT&T declined to comment on how such a scenario, if it
came to pass, might affect it.

”The debate about government surveillance programs and striking the
right balance between protecting personal privacy and providing national
security is a healthy one,” an AT&T spokesman said.

Sprint referred to a statement provided by the CTIA Wireless
Association, of which it is a member. The CTIA said that the balance
between privacy and security could be achieved “without the imposition
of data retention mandates that obligate carriers to keep customer
information any longer than necessary for legitimate business purposes.”

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