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NSA Policy
Announced April 26, 2017

Policy Summary

On April 28, 2017, the National Security Agency (NSA) announced that they would “stop certain foreign intelligence collection under Section 702” of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. This law provided the legal basis for the NSA to collect phone or Internet communications that [1] were sent directly to or from a foreign target or [2] were communications that were “about” a foreign person or target. The NSA will now cease its collection efforts of phone and Internet communications that were “about” foreign persons or targets mentioned in communications (e-mails, texts, etc.) between American citizens. However, Executive Order 12333, under Conduct of Intelligence Activities, was signed over thirty years ago by President Ronald Reagan and remains in effect. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE

Analysis

The announcement by the National Security Agency (NSA) that it would stop “about” collections under Section 702 is a red herring. Even though the NSA announced that Section 702 would no longer be the legal justification to collect communications of American citizens in violation of their privacy it does not change the fact that the NSA could still collect the same communications under the justification of another legal authority.

In 2014, John Napier Tye, a former Section Chief for Internet Freedom in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor stated that Executive Order (EO) 12333 permits bulk data collection of American citizens communications provided the collection occurs outside the U.S. As an example, Google and Yahoo keep many Internet communications in servers in countries outside of the U.S. Now, the NSA can instead rely on EO 12333 to collect Internet communications from these servers instead of Section 702 as long as the servers are outside the U.S. EO 12333 does not have warrant or court approval requirements as Section 702 did. Surveillance and data collection efforts may have ceased pursuant to Section 702 but the same Internet communications can still be collected, albeit under a different name and without the Section 702 privacy protections for American citizens, only because they were housed on a server overseas. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE

Engagement Resources

This brief was compiled by Rod Maggay. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief, please contact Rod@usresistnews.org.


 

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