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Obama to announce end of telephone metadata collection program

Published on Jan 17, 2014 11:30 PM
 

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President Barack Obama will announce on Friday a major overhaul of a controversial National Security Agency program that collects vast amounts of basic telephone call data on foreigners and Americans, a senior Obama administration official said.

In an 11 a.m. (midnight hour Singapore) speech at the Justice Department, Mr Obama will say he is ordering a transition that will significantly change the handling of what is known as the telephone "metadata" program from the way the NSA currently handles it. The move is aimed at restoring Americans' confidence in U.S. intelligence practices and caps months of reviews by the White House in the wake of damaging disclosures about U.S. surveillance tactics from former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.

In a nod to privacy advocates, Mr Obama will say he has decided that the government should not hold the bulk telephone metadata, a decision that could frustrate some intelligence officials.

In addition, he will order that effectively immediately, "we will take steps to modify the program so that a judicial finding is required before we query the database," said the senior official, who revealed details of the speech on condition of anonymity.

 
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