A White House-commissioned review into the use of spying tactics by agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA) has called for surveillance powers to be curbed.
The detailed 308-page review was commissioned in response to the PRISM revelations that came to light over the summer after documents were leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The document outlined a total of 46 recommendations covering the way in which people are monitored, the type of data that is collected and how it should be stored. Most notably, the review recommends the end of bulk data collection.
“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,” it said.
“Any program involving government collection or storage of such data must be narrowly tailored to serve an important government interest.”
It also says the government should not be able to gather and store metadata from telephone calls. It adds that this data should remain the preserve of the firms that collect it and must only be shared under certain circumstances.
"We recommend that legislation should be enacted that terminates the storage of bulk telephony metadata by the government...and transitions as soon as reasonably possible to a system in which such metadata is held instead either by private providers or by a private third party," the report said.
The report also touched on the issue of surveillance of other nations and their leaders, saying that approval from top officials inside the government should be needed to carry out this sort of work.
“We recommend that the president should create a new process requiring high-level approval of all sensitive intelligence requirements and the methods the intelligence community will use to meet them,” it said.
“This process should, among other things, identify both the uses and limits of surveillance on foreign leaders and in foreign nations.”
The White House press secretary Jay Carney said the government would now begin reviewing the report's findings.
“We will be reviewing the review group's report and its more than 40 recommendations as we consider the path forward, including sorting through which recommendations we will implement, which might require further study and which we will choose not to pursue,” he said.
“We expect the overall internal review to be completed in January, and the president will deliver remarks. And as I mentioned yesterday, the review group's report we expect to be released publicly."
The report comes in the same week that president Obama met with leading US tech chiefs to discuss the fallout from the PRISM spying scandal and that the NSA's tactics of gathering vast quantities of data were branded "unconstitutional" by a US judge.
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