NSA

President Obama is preparing to announce a plan to scrap the government's systematic collection of bulk phone records as part of a far-reaching overhaul of the National Security Agency's controversial electronic surveillance activities.

The New York Times, quoting senior administration officials, reports:

The National Security Agency, along with its British counterpart, the GCHQ, can exploit sometimes very personal data that leaks from popular phone apps.

That's according to The New York Times, which is basing its reporting on secret British documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

An independent panel created after the 9/11 attacks says bulk collection of billions of American phone records violates the letter and the spirit of the law.

The new report from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board undercuts the foundation of the National Security Agency's long-running phone metadata program, and suggests it conflicts with plain language in the Patriot Act and other laws on the books.

NPR obtained a copy of the report, which will be discussed and voted on Thursday at an open board meeting.

Sen. Paul's Office

Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator said President Obama isn’t going far enough with changing the country’s data collection policy.

Bowling Green Republican Rand Paul told WKU Public Radio he believes the privacy of American citizens will continue to be violated despite changes announced Friday during a speech by the President.

“Well, to me it kinda sounded like, you know, if you like your privacy, you can keep it, except for the fact that he’s going to still continue to collect your phone records, your emails, your texts, and probably your credit card records. So, while on the surface it sounded like he is concerned with our privacy, I didn’t really hear any policy changes that he’s going to quit collecting all of our records,” said Sen. Paul.

In his much-anticipated address Friday, President Obama said he will require intelligence agencies to receive permission from a secret court before tapping into vast amounts of phone data, and will eventually move that information out of the hands of the government.

"The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks," The New York Times reports.

IU Law Prof: NSA Surveillance Violates Privacy

Aug 12, 2013

An Indiana University law professor is joining a national group of legal experts arguing against the National Security Agency's collection of telephone data from Verizon.

Fred Cate penned a brief with other law professors asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court's order authorizing the government to collect the data. He argues the intelligence court's 2006 order violates the Patriot Act and "and presents a significant risk to the personal privacy of millions."

Administration officials have argued the NSA is operating under the law by broadly collecting data and later determining its validity.

The data collection was disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden earlier this summer.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says he's still waiting for FBI officials to answer questions about how the agency is using drones in the U.S.

Appearing Thursday on the public radio program The Takeaway (broadcast at Noon C.T. on WKU Public Radio), the Bowling Green Republican said he's disturbed by the recent admission by FBI leaders that they are using drones in this country without having privacy guidelines in place.

Paul told host John Hockenberry that he has sent the FBI a series of questions about the agency's use of drones, such as whether or not the FBI obtains search warrants before using the surveillance tactic.

Paul said the revelations about domestic drone use combined with the amount of information being collected by the National Security Agency should concern lawmakers and citizens alike.

Lisa Autry

U.S. Senator Rand Paul says he has sympathy for Edward Snowden, the man who leaked information on the National Security Agency's surveillance operations. 

In Bowling Green this week, Paul was asked how history will judge Snowden, who's facing espionage charges. Sen. Paul said  Snowden never lied to anyone, unlike National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who lied under oath to Congress.

“He says 'I lied in the name of national security.'  On the other hand, Edward Snowden told the truth in defense of privacy, but broke his national security clearance.  When you work in government you take a pledge not to reveal secrets, but you also take a pledge to the Constitution," explained Paul.  "The question becomes 'Is it a type of accepted civil disobedience to break your security pledge in defense of the Constitution?'"

If it turns out he leaked secrets to foreign governments, Paul said Snowden would be judged harshly, but history would judge him kindly as a defender of privacy.