NSA Ends Email Collection Program

A win for privacy advocates, NSA ditches controversial program.

The NSA will cease collecting communications that merely mention someone considered to be a “foreign intelligence target.” The agency will now limit its collection to specific communications sent directly to or from a foreign target.

“NSA will no longer collect certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target. The Agency will stop the practice to reduce the chance that it would acquire communications of U.S. persons or others who are not in direct contact with a foreign intelligence target.”  The announcement was posted on the agency’s website.

The agency has also vowed to delete “the vast majority” of the casual mentions of foreign targets. The NSA says this is to “to further protect the privacy of U.S. person communications.”

The decision comes after an internal review of section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. According to the agency, they “discovered several inadvertent compliance lapses.” Section 702 allows the intelligence community to conduct surveillance on specific foreign targets. All targets are located outside the United States.

With the program up for re-authorization later this year, many are calling for significant reforms from Congress to ensure the program is not being used in a manner it was never intended too.

The agency has come under fire in recent years for many of its programs and policies. While this is certainly a “win”, critics argue it is far from perfect.

Only time will tell what other reforms the agency will take upon itself.


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