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President Obama mulls NSA spying power overhaul after PRISM fallout

10 Jan 2014
US President Barack Obama

US president Barack Obama is considering plans to reform the powers of the National Security Agency (NSA) in the wake of the PRISM security scandal that broke last year.

The White House commissioned a report in December urging the president to address government spying concerns raised by whistleblower Edward Snowden in June. In total, the report suggested 46 recommendations including a ban on mass, unfiltered data collection.

Obama is now consulting on these recommendation and considering what action to take, according to White House press secretary Jay Carney.

“He [Obama] is still in the process of deliberating over the review group’s report and hearing from others on the issues that were raised in the review group’s report,” he said.

“So he’s at that stage still where he’s listening and discussing with a variety of stakeholders these issues, and appreciates very much the opinions and counsel he’s getting on these matters.”

Carney also confirmed that Obama was meeting with the NSA to discuss these plans. “I know he wants to hear from them [the NSA] to discuss with them the status of his review, which is ongoing. The review group’s report was publicly released, as you know, so everybody has had a chance to digest that. 

“The president certainly has spent time with it, and as we've said, he believes, with the exception of the one recommendation on which a decision has already been made, a personnel issue, he wants serious consideration of every recommendation from the review group.”

The report issued back in December said: “We recommend that, as a general rule, and without senior policy review, the government should not be permitted to collect and store all mass, undigested, non-public personal information about individuals to enable future queries and data-mining for foreign intelligence purposes."

Major tech firms such as Microsoft, Apple and Google will be hoping Obama acts decisively on the issues raised, as they have been highly vocal in their anger at the extent of spying that came to light.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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