What the NSA reforms don’t do

January 17, 2014

What don't the NSA reforms announced today cover?

Our friends at The Switch did a  quick summary:

These reforms are narrowly targeted at the NSA's phone metadata program under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. They don't cover other programs the government carries out under Section 215, such as the reported scraping of financial information by the CIA. They don't address the NSA's counter-encryption activities or any geolocation information that the NSA may have or may be collecting.

They also don't address other programs like those conducted under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, which is the authority under which PRISM operates.

Some of the reforms, both on the telephony metadata surveillance and others that the president is announcing today, require an act of Congress, and given the Senate's general support for the NSA throughout the controversy, it's unclear how much traction these proposals will get. Much of the spying that happens internationally will also remain untouched.

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