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Obama’s NSA reforms

Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has been working with Edward Snowden to disclose many of the NSA’s secrets, is already denouncing Obama’s speech as a PR stunt and states Obama's reforms of the NSA is like a "PR gesture," and mocked Obama's comments about the effect caused by Edward Snowden's leaks". Obama announced a series of proposed changes to the way the NSA collects some data, though he emphasized that the data collection would continue.

Greenwald's statement “It’s really just basically a PR gesture, a way to calm the public and to make them think there’s reform when in reality there really won’t be. And I think that if the public, at this point, has heard enough about what the NSA does and how invasive it is, that they’re going to need more than just a pretty speech from President Obama to feel as though their concerns have been addressed.”

Everything you need to know about Obama’s NSA reforms, in plain English.

Did you miss Obama's big NSA address? Here's the only sentence you need to get caught up:

"I am therefore ordering a transition that will end the Section 215 bulk metadata program as it currently exists, and establish a mechanism that preserves the capabilities we need without the government holding this bulk metadata"

It's worth pointing out that Obama's big caveat — "as it currently exists" — gives him wide latitude on the issue. There are also going to be some big questions as to how he'll pull off the second clause.

For a fuller explanation of what's changing,  Source: 

Mr. Obama never mentioned two issues that have upset U.S. technology executives, who worry about losing business overseas—reports of secret government taps on overseas data centers and the weakening of encryption standards.

The president said he recognized many surveillance issues weren't settled, and cast the changes as an attempt to balance national security with privacy and civil-liberties concerns.

"The reforms I'm proposing today should give the American people greater confidence that their rights are being protected, even as our intelligence and law-enforcement agencies maintain the tools they need to keep us safe," he said in the speech delivered at the Justice Department.

As a whole, the overhauls of NSA practices both at home and overseas comprise the most significant revision of U.S. surveillance in more than a decade. They focus primarily on three types of spy operations: mass collection of phone records, mass collection of foreign communications and the monitoring of foreign leaders. The overhaul also includes changes to the court that oversees NSA surveillance.

The government's bulk phone-data collection has come under the most intense debate, and senior administration officials say Mr. Obama was still wrestling the day before his speech with potential changes to the program. He didn't decide until Thursday night on some elements of his plan, including the requirement of court orders for records searches. 



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Freedom of the Press Foundation's Response to Obama's NSA Speech

President Obama addressed NSA reform in a forty minute speech this morning in which he proposed a few welcome reforms and many which could normalize some of the NSA's most dangerous practices. The ACLU, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and journalist Glenn Greenwald have already issued responses well worth reading. Catch the post below a few points in more detail:

Feels like a step in the right direction.

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