By Lyndsey Kelly
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America
WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America – Unless Congress extends a law authorizing bulk collection of data on calls by U.S. telephone subscribers, U.S. intelligence agencies will be forced to stop the practice in June. A spokesman for President Barack Obama’s National Security Council said that abandoning the practice of mass collection of domestic telephone data would deprive the country of a “critical national security tool.” The law, set to expire on June 1, allows the NSA to collect data on numbers called and time and length of the calls, but not their content.
The revelation by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that the National Security Agency was collecting this data was one of the most controversial revelations in recent history. The public is split on views regarding bulk collection, some see it as violating individual freedoms, while others consider it a vital tool for preventing terrorist attacks. Some legal experts have suggested that even if Congress does not extend the law, the President’s administration may be able to convince the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to authorize collection under other authorities.
However, National Security Council spokesman, Ned Price, has told the media that the administration intends to enact the legislation that would allow the collection to continue. A Senate Intelligence Committee spokeswoman said a panel is developing legislation. However, it seems as though any NSA reform bill is unlikely and efforts by Congress to extend the law so far have proved fruitless.
For more information, please see the following:
CNBC – US To Stop Collecting Bulk Phone Data If Law Expires – 23 March 2015.
THE GUARDIAN – US To Stop Collecting Bulk Phone Data If Congress Lets Law Expire -23 March 2015.
REUTERS – U.S. To Stop Collecting Bulk Phone Data If Spying Law Expires – 23 March 2015.