NSA phone surveillance: Schiff responds to Obama's new controls on metadata collection

President Obama proposed changes for how the National Security Agency collects data and conducts surveillance on American citizens in his speech on Friday in Washington, D.C.

Obama supports moving call record data outside of the NSA, requiring a court order to search, said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), a senior member of the Intelligence Committee, who has proposed legislation to end bulk phone record collection and instead require that the government seek an individualized court order to authorize searches from individual phone companies.

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“The telephony metadata program is not without value, but the program can be restructured so that the government no longer collects the calling records of Americans in bulk," Schiff said. "Doing so will achieve the same goals of protecting the nation from terrorism, but also be more respectful of privacy and with a minimal loss in efficiency."

Obama also wants to appoint a public advocate who would counter the arguments of government lawyers in the FISA Court for broad policy issues, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“I also was pleased to hear the President’s support for an adversary before the FISA Court so that there is a party charged with advocating on behalf of privacy and civil liberties of Americans. However, the devil will be in the details. Specifically, I believe this ‘public interest advocate should only be appointed in certain cases involving programmatic requests and novel legal and technical issues," Schiff said.

Schiff wants the advocate to be independent and have the technical expertise necessary to independently evaluate government arguments before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. His proposed legislation aims to create a pool of private attorneys with expertise on security issues and access to classified materials.

-- Nicole Charky, nicole.charky@latimes.com

Follow on Twitter: @Nicosharki.


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