by 👨💻 Simon Baxendale
In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the US government and National Security Agency put a number of new measures in place to help protect citizens across the states. However, some of these methods were met with controversy. It has emerged over the years that the NSA has been able to access and analyze phone calls and texts between millions of people – and it has all been thanks to the Patriot Act of 2001. This legislation helped the NSA access data from supposedly private communications across the US. It was famously brought to public scrutiny in 2013, after whistleblower Edward Snowden made some of the Agency’s actions known.
In the years since, an act was put through Congress to require that all access to such data only be granted with an accompanying court order. That order is about to expire – but according to reports, it seems the NSA is ready to give up on collecting this type of data altogether.
The current Trump administration may not be expected to renew the data collection system, according to congressional aide Luke Murray. CNET advises Murray confirmed the White House had not been making use of such collection for some time. “The administration actually hasn’t been using it for the past six months because of problems with the way in which that information was collected,” the aide confirmed.
“I’m not actually certain that the administration will want to start that back up given where they’ve been in the past six months.”
Murray is a senior aide and security advisor to Kevin McCarty, minority leader of the House of Representatives. While he is regarded as a prominent figure behind the scenes, there is yet to be any comment from either the White House or the NSA on such claims. The NSA, in fact, has declined to comment altogether.
NSA May Be Ending Contested Surveillance Program [video]
The way in which data is accessed and collected has changed immensely over the past decade. With the public more aware of matters regarding privacy than ever before, it is now a very different climate as far as data crunching is concerned. Big firms are being taken to task over the data they hold on us and how they are using it – meaning could the same apply to our government agencies? With the UK having controversially passed a law in recent years to request internet service providers collecting internet browsing history, there may well be a few years of snooping left in the balance.