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4 Reasons Obama’s NSA “Reforms” Won’t Change Much

4 Reasons Obama’s NSA “Reforms” Won’t Change Much

After being criticized for his wishy-washy calls to “reform” the NSA’s domestic spying program, Barack Obama has finally unveiled legislation that he says will resolve Americans privacy concerns. Alas, for a handful of reasons, the president’s “improvements” are not overly encouraging:

1. NSA Passes the Buck to Private Companies Instead

Good news: the NSA wouldn’t be storing your phone data anymore. Bad news: the government would just legally require the phone companies to keep exhaustive records on you instead. Is it really that much better to have U.S. agencies commissioning a different entity to gather private information? The existing corrupt and incestuous dynamic between government and corporations kind of mitigates any difference anyway. So while some headlines are celebrating the NSA will stop spying on you, they’re willfully omitting the fact that someone else is recording your activities.

2. The Government Still Has Easy Access to this Information

Despite nominally changing ownership of this data, the government won’t be conceding access of this data altogether. The proposed legislation would establish some pretty loose criteria for government officials to attain any information they see fit:

  • Rather than proving probable cause, the government would just need a “reasonable articulable suspicion” to gather intelligence from the phone companies’ records.
  • A judge wouldn’t need to sign off on the government accessing data.
  • The government could pry into the lives of citizens for reasons that have nothing to do with a terrorism investigation.

This proposed minimal oversight further erases the distinction between having someone separate from the government storing the data. Additionally, the rules don’t seem to do much to harness on the government disregarding constitutional protections and spying on citizens at will.

3. It Legitimatizes a Divisive Issue

Although the reform is not nearly as meaningful as many Americans had hoped for, some support it because it seems like better than nothing. However, the administration may be offering minor concessions on its spying program in an attempt to get unwarranted surveillance on the books.

With many believing that the NSA has been conducting unlawful surveillance, passing this new legislation would give some legitimacy to the practice. By cementing surveillance into law, it could further help to squash debate on the subject. Perhaps that’s why Obama is calling on Congress to pass these NSA reforms “quickly.” (And by “quickly”, he really means nearly a year after Edward Snowden brought these misdeeds to our attention.)

4. It Probably Won’t Pass, Meaning No Reform Anyway

Of course, getting the legislation to pass in Congress – let alone this Congress – seems unlikely. Some representatives, citing national security, do not want to change the existing program. Others object to surveillance period and won’t want to legitimatize it. Add to that Republican legislators who are systematically opposed to anything Obama endorses… where will the necessary votes come from? Heck, Obama doesn’t even have the support of everyone in his own party, including Senator Dianne Feinstein who only hates spying when it’s directed at her.

In other words, a highly plausible “no” vote also means no reform. Maybe that’s part of the administration’s plan, as well. After all, Obama just renewed the NSA’s existing surveillance program to continue as-is until reform is worked out… if it ever is.

 

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159 comments

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5:30AM PDT on Apr 18, 2014

That's right Robert- Bulls__t! As in false flag, scare them into doing what they want, BS!!! And every single day goes a little bit further into this approach. When will WE stand up & STOP it? Every time I ask a Q like that I get a barrage of STUPID Q's like "do you think the 100,000,000 some odd gun owners in the US could stop the military?" STUPID QUESTION FOM HELL! The real Q is- what % of the military would ban together to fight the real Americans? And further, what percentage of the real, law abiding, Constitution believing AMERICANS would allow themselves to be overthrown by a bunch of brainwashed terrorists & kill their families, etc? How many would rather be slaves in FEMA camps or' completely locked down under marshmallow law than DIE fighting for their freedom? Choice is clear- cowards VS men!

6:38AM PDT on Apr 17, 2014

Yeah wirth all this supposed spying going on they still had no way of sharinf this information between agency tp stop the BOston bombing from happening. They had all this information on the people who flew planes into your buildings but couldnt seem to stop it. This is all just bullshit.

1:28PM PDT on Apr 2, 2014

Bleak stuff indeed.

12:38PM PDT on Apr 2, 2014

They'll just find some other way to spy on us, inevitably, if it's really "that important" to national security. What concerns me more at the moment is the fact that if you uncover unpleasant truths about our government, i.e. killing civilians in other countries, you get to spend your life in prison, apparently.

11:09AM PDT on Mar 31, 2014

Wake up folks, Paul is telling it like it is. Cheers Paul, for your efforts in researching this away from the lies of MSM and other bought and sold news sources, sources that are censored by governments and secret agencies. Sources that will deliver only media either written by or censored by those behind the scenes.

5:59AM PDT on Mar 31, 2014

Amazing, isn't it, how with all their spying activity, and super-sophisticated technology, the NSA and CIA don't appear to know where MH 370 is? Does anyone believe that?
Recent leaks re Turkey are extremely disturbing (not re MH 370): see 'Scandal: Mass Media Censors Shocking Admission of Turkish False Flag'. Kerry involved with Turkey planning of a 'False Flag' attack to 'justiify' an attack on Syria, and depite being caught 'in flagrante' with non-disputed phone tap, Turkey gets shielded by absolute lies from the MSM.
A lot of people are understandably extremely dismayed at the huge loss of life in Syria; but why blame Assad? In 2009, two years before the armed insurgency 'kicked off', French ex-Foreign Minister Roland Dumas told French TV viewers, he was told by high British officials tha Britain was going to overthrow the Assad regime with mercenaries. And in 2001, 4* General (ret) Wesley Clark was told by a serving 3* General at the Pentagon that the US was going to overthrow '7 governments in 5 years - Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran' (the timescale has obviously slipped).
Open your eyes, folks, and stop getting 'news' from the MSM; more often than not, it is downright lies, and at best it's only manipulated 'spin'.

5:22AM PDT on Mar 31, 2014

The Role of CANVAS, US-Financed “Color Revolution Training Group”.
The MSM call these 'Peaceful protests', and are now calling for sanctions against Venezuela. But check out the facts yourselves. Check alternative sites, such as 'Venezuela Analysis' or 'Hands Off Venezuela'.
And pray tell, what would be the response of the US, British, French, Canadian etc. police and media to burning road blocks, fatal wire stringing across roads that have decapitated at least two Venezuelan motorcyclists, firng on police & ciiivilians, arson and other damage to Government property, including clinics?
For God's sake, look what was done in Boston, America's 20th largest city, which was in 'Lockdown', with all kinds of para-military police and armoured vehicles breaking into homes, forcing people to either stay in their homes, or to evacuate their homes, and all for the stated reason of capturing or killing a solitary young Chechen who was claimed to have been involved with a bombing.
Where were the howls of protest about the US heavy-handed tactics in Boston?

5:21AM PDT on Mar 31, 2014

@ Jane R. : Absolutely. But while the issue is getting people hot under the collar, it can be used to wake people up to the far worse things our evil 'Leaders' are doing.
One is the ongoing 'Regime Change' tsunami that is engulfing countries where the US would like a more compliant 'government', be it civilian, military or a mix of both (the military often are the real power behind ostensibly civilian governments). The whole 'Arab Spring' was organised, funded and directed by the CIA and US-funded 'NGO's' and fronts. Check George Soros, NED, CANVAS + Arab Spring.
CANVAS (previously OTPOR) is a particularly evil US-controlled organisation in Serbia. It trains people from around the world for just these sorts of mass protests and violent disorder as in Libya, Egypt, Syria etc, though Syria is much worse than the others.. It trains youths and others, but also controls 'Gladio' Neo-Nazi elements who provide sniper backup and street thugs to assist in the various target countrues.
And now they have their eye on Venezuela's huge oil reserves. See 'Documented: US Coup Plan for Venezuela 2013: 'Plan Estratégico Venezuela' by Axis of Logic.
Identical CANVAS leaflets were found in both Egypt and Ukraine, absolutely identical except for one was in Egyptian, one in Ukrainian, giving tactics and even what clothes to wear such as coats with big pockets (for Molotov Cocktails); see 'Ukraine Protests Carefully Orchestrated: The Role of CANVAS, US-Financed “Color Revolutio

9:46PM PDT on Mar 30, 2014

Like it or not (and I don't) we will always be spied upon by someone. The government, internet, and more. I don't think we can stop it! I wish there was a way.

5:55PM PDT on Mar 28, 2014

SOMEONE NEEDS TO START A PETITION RIGHT NOW....I AM POLITICALLY DONE IN BY BAD CIA PARTNERS AND UNIVERSITIES SO ANY PETITION I WOULD START WILL NOT GET MANY SIGNERS...BUT WE NEED SOMEONE'S TO BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO DEMAND THAT THESE CONTRACTS ARE NOT GIVEN TO CORPORATIONS WHO PLAY FAST AND DIRTY AND DANGEROUSLY WITH OUR LIVES. GROW UP AMERICANS.........START A PETITION.......SEND IT TO THE WHITE HOUSE...I AM SURE THOUSANDS WILL SIGN....AS A FORMER GOVT EMPLOYEE I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT KEEPING NSA FROM DOING THIS AND GETTING RID OF CORPORATIONS LIKE THE ONE THAT HIRED SNOWDEN AND MAKING OUT GOVT BE MORE ACCOUNTABLE IN THESE INTEL AGENCIES WILL BE BETTER THAN BAD PLAYERS IN CORPORATIONS WHO EVEN IF THEY ARE DECENT PEOPLE WILL WANT TO KEEP THEIR JOBS SO THEY WONT SPEAK OUT AND THESE ARE MOSTLY YOUNGER MEN AND WOMEN.

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Lindsay Spangler Lindsay Spangler is a Web Editor and Producer for Care2 Causes. A recent UCLA graduate, she lives in... more
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