Obama to soon propose NSA surveillance changes

3:34 PM, Dec 8, 2013   |    comments
The sign outside the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md. (Photo: Patrick Semansky AP Patrick Semansky AP)
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President Obama's proposed changes to National Security Agency surveillance rules are likely to come this month.

During his recent appearance on MSNBC's "Hardball," Obama said that "I'll be proposing some self-restraint on the NSA," and initiating "some reforms that can give people more confidence."

While the NSA has been criticized for programs that can touch on domestic phone calls and e-mails, Obama defended the agency's efforts to block terrorist attacks.

"The people at the NSA, generally, are looking out for the safety of the American people," Obama told a group of college students at the MSNBC taping. "They are not interested in reading your e-mails. They're not interested in reading your text messages ... And we've got a big system of checks and balances, including the courts and Congress, who have the capacity to prevent that from happening."

The changes, Obama said, would be designed to build public confidence in the NSA and its surveillance efforts.

From Bloomberg News:

"The president is scheduled to get a report next week from a five-member panel of lawyers and former security officials that's reviewing the spy agency's sweeping collection of communications data worldwide. It was created after the leaks of secret government documents by former government security contractor Edward Snowden. ...

"Obama's action on recommendations from the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications may have consequences for Google Inc. (GOOG), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Facebook Inc. (FB) and Apple Inc. (AAPL) Technology companies are facing the loss of billions of dollars in overseas business, stricter regulations and erosion of consumer trust as a result of revelations that the NSA gained access to private networks to conduct surveillance."

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