U.S. privacy board says NSA Internet spying program is effective but worrying

Wed Jul 2, 2014 4:04pm IST

A man types on a computer keyboard in Warsaw in this February 28, 2013 illustration file picture. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Files

A man types on a computer keyboard in Warsaw in this February 28, 2013 illustration file picture.

Credit: Reuters/Kacper Pempel/Files

Related Topics

REUTERS - The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA)'s data collection program has been an effective tool to enhance the country's security but some elements of the cyber-spying raises privacy concerns, a U.S. federal privacy watchdog said in a report.

Privacy issues have become a hot topic since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden exposed the spy agency's phone and Internet spying programs.

But the program has allowed the government to collect a greater range of foreign intelligence "quickly and effectively," the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board said in a report released on Wednesday.

It added, however, that certain aspects of the program raise questions about whether its impact on U.S. persons pushes it over the edge into "constitutional unreasonableness".

The watchdog said it was concerned about the incidental collection of U.S. persons' communications and the use of queries to search the information collected under the program for the communications of specific U.S. persons.

The program, part of the United States' Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), collects electronic communications, including telephone calls and emails, where the target is a non-U.S. citizen located outside the United States.

The board, set up in 2004, is an independent government agency within the executive branch that advises the U.S. president and Congress on how to ensure that counter-terrorism operations also protect Americans' privacy.

The report was the oversight board's second involving NSA programs. In January the watchdog said that NSA's bulk collection of phone records provides only minimal benefits to countering terrorism, is illegal and should end. [ID:nL2N0KX12N]

The five-member board also offered several recommendations so that the program could strike a better balance between privacy, civil rights, and national security.

(Reporting by Supriya Kurane in Bangalore, editing by Foo Yun Chee/Jeremy Gaunt)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Falling Profit

Reuters Showcase

Rising Star

Rising Star

Xiaomi moves into third place in global smartphone war.  Full Article 

Microsoft Band

Microsoft Band

Microsoft launches wearable fitness device for $199.  Full Article 

Fraud Cases

Fraud Cases

NY recovers $18 million using warrants for Facebook accounts.  Full Article 

Digital Wallets

Digital Wallets

Wal-Mart and allies in face-off with Apple Pay over mobile payments.  Full Article 

AeroMobil 3.0

AeroMobil 3.0

Flying car prototype takes to the skies.  Video 

Smart Device

Smart Device

Nintendo to develop "quality of life" device to track sleep, fatigue - CEO.  Full Article 

Using Twitter data

Using Twitter data

IBM, Twitter to partner on business data analytics.  Full Article 

Following The Crowd

Following The Crowd

With selfies and listicles, U.S. politicians go vote-hunting on social media.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage