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Government Privacy Security United States Politics

NSA Halts Collection of Americans' Emails About Foreign Targets (nytimes.com) 48

The NSA is stopping one of the most disputed forms of its warrantless surveillance program (alternative source), one in which it collects Americans' emails and texts to and from people overseas and that mention a foreigner under surveillance, NYTimes reports on Friday citing officials familiar with the matter. From the report: National security officials have argued that such surveillance is lawful and helpful in identifying people who might have links to terrorism, espionage or otherwise are targeted for intelligence-gathering. The fact that the sender of such a message would know an email address or phone number associated with a surveillance target is grounds for suspicion, these officials argued. [...] The N.S.A. made the change to resolve problems it was having complying with special rules imposed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 2011 to protect Americans' privacy. For technical reasons, the agency ended up collecting messages sent and received domestically as a byproduct of such surveillance, the officials said.
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NSA Halts Collection of Americans' Emails About Foreign Targets

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  • ...only to replace it with three programs that are five times worse.
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      ... and better hidden. The NSA does not think its immoral acts were the problem, it thinks getting caught was the problem. They are, as so many people, completely unaware of history.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    And considering that they were copying this shit for YEARS before they were "found out", what's the likelihood that they're "really" going to stop?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Doing what Obama couldn't (or wouldn't)

    • This is like his tax cut plan- his refusal to release his own tax returns while pushing for tax "reforms" strongly indicates that the cuts are designed to lower his own taxes.

      Trump obviously doesn't care about an American's emails being read unless the American is him or one of his employees. While I may like the result in this case, I seriously doubt he'd be implementing this policy if it didn't benefit himself.
  • by Scutter ( 18425 ) on Friday April 28, 2017 @03:27PM (#54321307) Journal

    I believe them 100% because they've never lied to the public before. Or the courts. Or Congress. Why wouldn't you take them at their word?

    • I believe them. I believe that they will stop collecting and archiving these emails.

      I don't for a moment believe that they wont:
      a) continue scanning everything you do
      b) have ISPs and Telecom companies hold the emails *ahem* metadata for years to come
      c) continue the process of sending NSA letters with no oversight to targets who have no say in their privacy.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Of course I believe them because I can see exactly what they are doing. They will pay private corporations for that data, giving those private corporations and incentive to collect all digital data and store all digital communications because low and behold they can sell it to the government, whilst the government claims it is not doing it, nuh uh. The arse holes are just making it legal for private corporations to do it, lead by M$ and Windows anal probe 10 and now the ISPs (Invasive Sellers of Privacy) an

    • by zlives ( 2009072 )

      its funny how that works when its the people in power whose emails are caught this way and all of a sudden they too agree with Snowden. so maybe they do mean it this time.

  • Why should the NSA collect a second copy?

    The copy they collected from all American's email should be sufficient.

  • ... e-mail to/from foreigners relating to surveillance targets.

  • by Chronus1326 ( 1769658 ) on Friday April 28, 2017 @03:46PM (#54321455)
    We don't believe you
  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Friday April 28, 2017 @04:24PM (#54321693)

    Laws and policies will not stop erosion of privacy by government or big business. Why? Because they really aren't accountable to anyone, and whistle-blowers get into severe trouble.

    If something CAN be done, then it is likely it WILL be done... especially if it one or more of these:

    * Cheap
    * Easy
    * Important to them
    * Has precedence
    * Already being collected

    It is like a microphone in a device- The way to ensure privacy isn't to list all kinds of rules and laws and disclosures, it is to put a hard switch on it so the user has the option to turn it off.

    Freedom and privacy shouldn't be exclusively to trying to limit what we DO with the information once it is collected. The only real way to ensure you are not being tracked is to prevent the collection of information in the first place. The only sure way to know a license plate scanner isn't being used improperly is to not use them, or limit the scope of how they are used. The only way to know cameras aren't tracking you is to not have cameras everywhere. The only way to know people can't potentionally abuse your messaging is to have encryption that can't be broken and without back-doors.

  • Trump (Score:5, Interesting)

    by krisbrowne42 ( 549049 ) on Friday April 28, 2017 @04:26PM (#54321703)
    I am certain this is only because it exempts them from having to programatically exclude Trump and his deplorables, giving them plausible deniability when the eventual investigation asks what they knew when.
    • While I don't believe for a second that the NSA is going to stop collecting ANYTHING, if it does happen to be true I really don't care WHAT motivation is behind innocent citizens being spied on less, as long as innocent citizens are spied on less.

  • ...if you have a government service that has so much eroded public support and trust to the point that no one believes anything they say about their own policies (even the potus)....then it might be time to restructure or close shop and start from scratch. There is some poison in that establishment that is going to take a wrecking ball to correct I think....

    If it was so valuable to them, why was it hard to come up with some form of metric to prove its worth?

  • by charlie merritt ( 4684639 ) on Friday April 28, 2017 @04:37PM (#54321771)
    "We used to, but we don't anymore." - I actually had an NSA employee say that to my face in 1980 - how many more times have I heard it in the media since? This is just another one ...cm
  • Really. If we stop collecting this important data, WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!

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