Skip to comments.Obama Backs New Surveillance Legislation, but Tech Companies Reject (big loophole)
Posted on 05/22/2014 3:44:22 AM PDT by markomalley
A tech industry group that has Facebook and Google as participants has rejected the latest draft of a U.S. legislation that aims to put curbs on surveillance by the National Security Agency.
The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday said it supported swift passage of the USA Freedom Act by the U.S. House of Representatives, and urged the Senate to follow suit.
"Overall, the bill's significant reforms would provide the public greater confidence in our programs and the checks and balances in the system," the White House said in a statement.
But the tech companies, which also include Yahoo, AOL, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter and LinkedIn, have said in a statement that the latest draft opens up an "unacceptable loophole that could enable the bulk collection of Internet users' data."
The tech companies coalition, called Reform Government Surveillance, said it could not support the bill as currently drafted and urged Congress to close the loophole to ensure meaningful reform. The legislation has moved in the wrong direction, it added. The group did not give details of the loophole it wants removed.
In December, the tech companies called for the reform around the world of government surveillance laws and practices, with the U.S. taking the lead. Some Internet companies were charged in disclosures last year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden of providing to the agency real-time access to contents on their servers, which the companies denied. There were also reports that the agency was tapping into communications links between the data centers of Yahoo and Google.
Civil rights groups have also criticized the new turn in the legislation which is meant to end bulk collection of communications records by the NSA.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, for example, is concerned about the new definition of "specific selection term," which describes and limits who or what the NSA is allowed to monitor.
The expression was originally defined in the legislation as "a term used to uniquely describe a person, entity, or account," wrote Kevin Bankston, policy director of the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute. The new definition, which refers to "a discrete term, such as a term specifically identifying a person, entity, account, address, or device," could allow for the use of broad selection terms such as a zip code. It converts an exclusive list of unique identifiers into an unbounded list of discrete identifiers, while explicitly adding addresses and devices as types of identifiers, Bankston wrote in a blog post.
"Congress has been clear that it wishes to end bulk collection, but given the government's history of twisted legal interpretations, this language can't be relied on to protect our freedoms," EFF said in a post.
Ought to be a law banning loopholes. What a waste of time and money it is to write a law rendered meaningless by allowing loopholes.
White House is not used to dealing with people of high intellect. They are used to dealing with Congress.
Of course, pretend you are addressing the issue and authorize yourself more power int he process, disgusting
Gee, a top Congress that put a loophole allowing the feds free reign over our rights. Thanks GW for the DHS.
Part of the reason they want this loophole is corporate espionage. Our govt is spying on people to steal ideas and technology and give it to bigger corporations in some kind of pay-to-play setup. We always think of the constitutional liberties angle, but we forget this is also about good old fashioned greed.
It is not used to folks who have their lawyers actually READ the legislation!
I doubt most Congresscritters get past the summary at the top.
Congress Set to Rein In NSA? Not So Fast, Says Judge Napolitano
“They’ve done it by using terms that are so flexible, so malleable, that one judge will interpret them one way, another judge will interpret it another way,” he said, explaining that each judge’s interpretation is kept hidden in secret courts.
“We don’t know what the judge says or why he says it. One judge on the court doesn’t even know what another judge on the court says. They’re all kept secret from each other.”
Napolitano believes lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that will make it look like the NSA is being pulled back, “when in reality it’s going to unleash it to engage in more spying.”
“It’s wrong, it’s deceptive and it’s subterfuge,” said the judge.
Nobody has any idea how much Americans are being spied on by corporations, law enforcement, and the NSA
Sounds like more of their previous Top Secret America.
"Nobody has any idea how much Americans are being spied on by corporations, law enforcement, and the NSA"
It's completely out of control, there are so many agencies competing for federal cash for these programs. On top of multi layered federal agencies all doing the same thing, there's state and local too.
Those first show(s) were interesting and revealing, but this one is shocking. Key in on the interview(s) with General Hayden and Al Gonzales