The National Security Agency (NSA) has put an end to a part of its warrantless surveillance –the so-called “about” data collection—of non-U.S. persons who are outside the U.S. under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is due to expire by year's end, the New York Times reported.
In the past, the agency has collected communications that communications that merely mention an identifier like an email address that is linked to someone under surveillance.
Civil rights groups saw the move as progress toward putting an end to warrantless surveillance but also noted it's not enough. “While we welcome the voluntary stopping of this practice, it's clear that Section 702 must be reformed so that the government cannot collect this information in the future," Michelle Richardson, deputy director of the Freedom, Security, and Technology Project at the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT).
Likewise Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel at American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) legislative counsel, said that “while the NSA's policy change will curb some of the most egregious abuses under the statute, it is at best a partial fix.”
She called for Congress to “take steps to ensure such practices are never resurrected and end policies that permit broad, warrantless surveillance under Section 702, which is up for reauthorization at the end of the year.”