Senior administration officials in the US government have revealed that President Barack Obama is seeking to “end the aspect that most alarmed privacy advocates” since ex-NSA employee Edward Snowden blew the whistle on such practices in 2013.
The officials went on to say that the NSA, if Obama’s proposal goes through, will “end its systematic collection of data about Americans’ calling habits”, according to reports.
The administration wants to begin insisting that telecommunications companies provide call records in a technologically compatible data format quickly after an order to do is received. This would require calls placed or received, and would include records of calls from all users who were two phone calls removed from the original suspect.
The administration will also seek the NSA to hold onto call data for only 18 months, as opposed to the current five years.
After making a speech in January 2014 in which he said he planned to move the NSA away from bulk data collecting, Obama instructed the Justice Department to come up with a plan by the date of expiry of the original court order allowing NSA data collection. That date is 28 March – just days from now.
However, as part of its attempts to change the ongoing practices of the NSA, the administration has asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to renew the existing data collection program by 90 days, in order to focus on introducing changes later down the line.