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U.S. Privacy Board Says NSA Internet Spying Is Constitutional

2014-07-03 09:16 by
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A bipartisan privacy board that was appointed by President Obama following the disclosures made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has released a report (PDF) that says the security agency's Internet spying is legal and constitutional. While the board found that certain aspects of the program are questionable and "push the program close to the line of constitutional reasonableness," essentially its five members concluded unanimously that the core of the so- called Section 702 program is "clearly authorized by Congress, reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, and an extremely valuable and effective intelligence tool." The report has been issued just as Congress is considering changes in the laws governing N.S.A. activities. But the legislation, which has passed the House and is under consideration by the Senate, deals largely with the call- records program, which the board and President Obama said in January must be changed. That program involved the agency's retention of billions of records for all phone calls made from or to the United States; under the legislation, telecommunications companies would retain those records, and the N.S.A. would have access under court orders.

"The Section 702 program has enabled the government to acquire a greater range of foreign intelligence than it otherwise would have been able to obtain - and to do so quickly and effectively," the report said. While it found little value in the bulk collection of Americans' telephone data, the board said that the 702 program, aimed at foreigners, "has proven valuable in the government's efforts to combat terrorism as well as in other areas of foreign intelligence."

Read more -here-


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