FISA Court Agrees To Changes That Limit NSA's Ability To Query Phone Records
from the it's-something dept
While we were mostly disappointed by President Obama’s speech concerning his plans for reforming surveillance efforts, there were a few significant suggestions, with the most major one being a limit from being able to explore “3 hops” down to “2 hops.” That might not sound that big, but it is a pretty big limitation when you dig into the math. Furthermore, he said that there should be a court reviewing each request to query the phone records database. He left open a pretty big loophole, saying that this judicial review could be skipped in a “true emergency,” but it’s still something.
In response, the Justice Department actually went to the FISA Court and filed a motion to revise the current order approving the telephone records collection (under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, sometimes called the “bulk metadata” program), to change it to put in place these restrictions. The FISA Court has now approved that request, and will release a (possibly redacted) version of the order within the next week and a half or so.
This is a small change, but it is still a meaningful change that creates both more oversight and greater limits on how this data can be used. It’s a small step in the right direction.