Coalition opposes allowing NSA to share surveillance data

Privacy groups oppose proposed changes to an executive order that would relax limitations on the NSA in sharing surveilled communications information with other agencies.
Privacy groups oppose proposed changes to an executive order that would relax limitations on the NSA in sharing surveilled communications information with other agencies.

A coalition of privacy and civil liberties groups are working together to oppose proposed changes to an executive order that governs the overseas interception of phone, e-mail, and other communications during intelligence investigations. The reported proposed changes to Executive Order 12333 would relax the NSA's limitations in sharing with other agencies communications information the agency collected about individuals.

The groups sent a petition opposing the changes to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) Admiral Michael Rogers calling.

“Considering the extent and scope of the information collected under EO 12333, the policy changes under consideration could allow agencies like the FBI to circumvent constitutional protections and will pose new threats to the privacy and civil liberties of ordinary Americans,” the letter stated.

Last month, the NSA's privacy director Rebecca Richards said the NSA can “incidentally” collect Americans' data if their Internet activities extend into international borders. The comment occurred at a panel discussion following a report on Executive Order 12333 published by the Brennan Center.

During the panel discussion, American Civil Liberties Union legislative counsel Neema Singh Guliani said Executive Order 12333 “appears to be more permissive” of intelligence agencies' use of personal data. She said, “It's not clear that criminal defendants get notice, or even that there are any procedures to ensure that sufficient notice is provided.”

The petition said the reported changes to the executive order “would fatally weaken existing restrictions on access to the phone calls, emails, and other data the NSA collects.”

Several think tanks, advocacy groups, and other associations signed the petition, including the American Civil Liberties Union, American Library Association, Brennan Center for Justice, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, Government Accountability Project, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, New America's Open Technology Institute, OpenTheGovernment.org, Project On Government Oversight, R Street, Sunlight Foundation, TechFreedom, and X-Lab.
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