Skip to main content

Obama assessing four alternatives to NSA phone data collection: WSJ

Obama assessing four alternatives to NSA phone data collection: WSJ

/

Proposals range from placing the program under phone companies to abolishing it altogether

Share this story

nsa stock
nsa stock

The Obama administration has been presented with four wide-ranging options on how to reform the National Security Agency's (NSA) phone data collection program — including doing away with it altogether — according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. Citing officials close to the matter, the Journal reports that intelligence officials presented the options ahead of the March 28th deadline that President Barack Obama set forth in a speech about NSA reform earlier this year.

One proposal would be to put phone metadata collection under the purview of US telecommunications companies. Under this option, the NSA would inform the companies of when it needs to search their databases for terrorism-related investigations, and the phone companies would return only the results of those searches, rather than data on consumers unrelated to the investigations.

"we look forward to reviewing those options."

A second proposal would see a different federal agency hold the data — the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), for instance — and a third would place them under the control of a third entity that's neither a federal agency nor a telecom company. The final proposal would abolish the data collection program altogether, an option that Obama in January said would require more work "to determine exactly how this system might work."

A spokesperson from the White House National Security Council declined to comment on the proposals themselves, saying only that officials from intelligence agency and the Department of Justice have been working on developing new options.

"They have kept us abreast of their progress, and we look forward to reviewing those options," the spokesperson, Caitlin Hayden, told the Journal. "Beyond that, I'm not in a position to discuss the details of an ongoing process."

None of the four options reported this week have universal support. Phone company representatives tell the Journal that they have not been consulted on the proposal to charge them with controlling the data, while Representative Mike Rogers (R - MI) says it does not have enough support in the House of Representatives. Some intelligence experts have endorsed placing the program under the FBI, though others have suggested the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court as a candidate — something that has drawn rebuke from judges. Privacy groups, meanwhile, have criticized the proposal to create a separate agency, arguing that it would result in little substantive change, and doing away with the program altogether would dismay intelligence officials who see it as critical to ensuring national security.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 24 Striking out

E
External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


A
Youtube
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


A
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.


A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
J
Twitter
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.


A
External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.


A
External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.