On Friday, President Obama announced a number of reforms to the NSA’s phone metadata surveillance program, unfortunately coming far short of TechFreedom’s recommended changes. TF President Berin Szoka talks about what Obama failed to mention in The Hill:
Advocates criticized Obama for what he didn’t say as much as for what he did.
“What’s really telling here is the things the president didn’t actually address,” said Berin Szoka, president of the technology policy think tank TechFreedom. “He punted on a lot.”
For instance, he said, Obama made no mention of changing the legal rationale for searching the telephone records in the first place. The president said searches were permissible with the “reasonable suspicion” that an individual was connected to a terrorist, instead of “probable cause,” as is necessary for other crimes.
Obama also made no calls to reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which governs the way officials can intercept emails during criminal investigations.
By ignoring the subject, “he missed an opportunity to demonstrate to the nation that he is serious about privacy reform and restoring trust in American companies,” said Greg Nojeim, senior counsel with the Center for Democracy and Technology, in a statement.
His silence on the issue, Szoka said, was “deafening.”