News / USA

US Phone Companies Fight Possible Changes In Data Collection

US Phone Companies Fight Possible Changes in Data Collectioni
X
January 15, 2014 11:54 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to announce Friday that he will modify the way U.S. intelligence agencies collect information. But as VOA's Kent Klein reports, the president is said to be backing away from a proposal to have the National Security Agency transfer its vast records of phone calls to telecommunications companies.
Kent Klein
President Barack Obama is expected to announce Friday that he will modify the way U.S. intelligence agencies collect information. The president is said to be backing away from a proposal to have the National Security Agency transfer its vast records of phone calls to telecommunications companies.

The reforms will not be as far-reaching as a presidential advisory committee recommended, according to a report in The New York Times.

The committee advised the president to order the NSA to stop storing the records of millions of phone calls and, instead, have phone companies - or some third party - do it.

The Times says Obama will not issue that order Friday, but will ask Congress to help him decide how best to store the data.

The NSA says its broad collection of so-called metadata is necessary to fight terrorism.

The proposal to move phone records from NSA control was meant to blunt criticism that the bulk collection threatens privacy.

The NSA would then need a warrant to access the information - which includes phone logs, but not the content of conversations - said James Andrew Lewis, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“The phone companies already have the metadata. Metadata, despite all the noise, is basically your phone bill. So they’ve got it, and NSA could get it from them with a warrant any time they wanted. NSA doesn’t need to hold it, and the phone companies already have it,” said Lewis.

Attorney Michael Sussmann said the companies he represents fear they could be sued, and would have to spend more time and money to give the information to other parties.

"So an insurance company could issue a subpoena. There could be a court order in a divorce case. All the other reasons that people would want phone company records, there are that many more records for them to request," said Sussmann.

And the idea of moving the data to the phone companies does not satisfy critics, including Republican Senator Chuck Grassley.

“It may create as many privacy concerns as it solves. Indeed, private companies seem to be allowing their customers’ information to be hacked on what seems to be a daily basis,” said Grassley.

Leslie Harris, president of Washington's Center for Democracy and Technology, said any mass collection of phone records, by government or by private industry, threatens privacy.

"And certainly moving that data to telephone companies or to some third party doesn't fix the concerns about risk. But if the whole focus is on where the data is held, then I think the president has missed the point," aid Harris.

The president is expected to adopt his advisers' suggestion to reduce the number of people whose records can be examined by the NSA, and reduce the number of years the data can be kept.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
January 20, 2014 12:04 AM
I am sad now data have become what makes people skeptical not what help us build trust and make relieved. It looks the more we have intelligence, the more we become unhappy. We look puppeted by intelligence instead using it.

by: Emeka Ohajunwa from: Nigeria
January 16, 2014 2:06 PM
One basic fact in this intelligence discuss as have engendered by the "run-away" contractor, is that, national security entails unavoidable encrouchments to personal freedoms which are cardinal to a nations security and especially, in this era of international terrorism. Any government that compromises on ccertain aspects of these requirements will have serious domestic political explanations to make.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs