back to article NSA spies should clean up their act, says Prez Obama-picked panel

An independent review board has recommended that the US federal government continue its myriad foreign and domestic surveillance programs, but only if it makes significant changes to protect individual privacy. The Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies was convened by President Obama in August in the …


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  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    A committee that reported?

    I know the USA is a new country, but with a bit of experience you will learn that independant committees setup to look into the problem of the day shouldn't report for at least 3 years when all the fuss has died down.

    In the meantime you can say that "you are looking into it" and "cannot comment while the investigation is underway"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A committee that reported?

      What they say and what they do will be two entirely different things.

      It really means 'look if you are going to do this make sure you don't get caught because I won't be backing you, officially that is! Now get on with it.'

  2. Scoular

    There is still the problem of unwarranted spying on the rest of the world, including 'friends'.

    A bit of focus rather than world wide grabbing any data it is technically possible to get might be a lot more effective in dealing with the real problem of security.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      To be honest, I'm not really concerned over spying on friendly governments. They've been doing that to each other since long before the US existed. Let them play their games of statecraft and spy on each other, and leave us regular folks alone!

  3. phil dude

    but first...

    it would be nice if the elected representatives knew what was going on.

    I mean, they may not be any smarter, but it would perhaps mean there would less "cowboy" behaviour with the "google of the underworld" sitting on their desks...

    Somebody has to vote for their budget...?


  4. andro
    Thumb Down

    "The government need not stop its practice of collecting bulk metadata about Americans' phone calls, the group found. But it recommended that this data be held by a private party, rather than the government itself, and that the government should only be able to request specific information when it is needed for investigations."

  5. MrRtd

    What is with the recommendation that the data be held by a private party? Are they suggesting the privatization of this highly personal and valuable data is going to be somehow better for society? Oh, never mind, this comes from the same country that created a massive private prison industry, reliant of making damn near everyone a potential criminal all for the sake of profits.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "that some spying is necessary to protect national security"

    National security or government security? The two are not the same.

  7. Winkypop Silver badge

    Oh, well that's OK then


  8. Anonymous Coward

    Operation Whitewash has reached phase ll....

    My bet is that Obama ignores this commission's findings, and the spying continues. This will be just like Obama's Simpson-Bowles deficit commission, that Obama formed and the quietly ignored.

  9. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    And just whenever you think it can get no worse, does it become infinitely better.

    In a free society, public officials should never engage in surveillance in order to punish their political enemies; to restrict freedom of speech or religion; to suppress legitimate criticism and dissent; to help their preferred companies or industries; to provide domestic companies with an unfair competitive advantage; or to benefit or burden members of groups defined in terms of religion, ethnicity, race, and gender. The government should base its decisions on a careful analysis of consequences, including both benefits and costs (to the extent feasible).

    In particular, any programs that allow surveillance of such persons even outside the United States should satisfy six separate constraints. They:

    1) must be authorized by duly enacted laws or properly authorized executive orders;

    2) must be directed exclusively at protecting national security interests of the United States or our allies;

    3) must not be directed at illicit or illegitimate ends, such as the theft of trade secrets or obtaining commercial gain for domestic industries;

    4) must not target any non-United States person based solely on that person’s political views or religious convictions;

    5) must not disseminate information about non-United States persons if the information is not relevant to protecting the national security of the United States or our allies; and

    6) must be subject to careful oversight and to the highest degree of transparency consistent with protecting the national security of the United States and our allies. ….. LIBERTY AND SECURITY IN A CHANGING WORLD … The Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies report

    A tacit admission of guilt and confession revealing that all such targeting and mission creep is rampant and rabid within the Intelligence Community …… however, it would be naive to not imagine that such is a global infection and even endemic pandemic which afflicts and can infect and affect all similar services from/in any nation/state/company/business/Round Table circle/banks of conspirators which seek to provide overwhelming fiat, political and intellectual capital for perverse and easily corrupting and inequitable personalised advantage, which then would paradoxically, automatically autonomously make oneself a prime prize termination target for extreme prejudice executive action, rather than extraordinarily rendering one perfectly safe and blissfully secure as/in a valuable protected nationalised asset program and natural/supranatural treasure for providing ideally, mutually beneficial, positively reinforcing, equitably shared advantage supplying rich prosperous sustainable growth with infinite exponential possibility.

    And that be a monumental catastrophic blunder which only advanced intelligence supply can resolve and reverse and right?

    And only shared there as a rhetorical question to start y’all thinking deeper …. for quite obviously is present intelligence currency failing y’all spectacularly, and as is the case in all such as are SCADA adventures, is that a failure of intelligence right at the very top of every link in the chains of virtual command that remotely control miserable ignorant and arrogant lives ….. and virtual machines.

    Be they recognised as being just one and the same to Remote Virtual Command Controllers in C42 Quantum Communication Control Systems? And what would be causing you to doubt it, apart from a miserable ignorance and arrogance, that is, and which is even as an endemic pandemic and quite universally ubiquitous?

    In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Obama administration said that while the President is reviewing the report, the White House will not comment on any of the recommendations made in it.

    If that is to be a mirror of the pathetic lily livered cowardly response by senior politically incorrect Parliamentary partying representatives of the hoi polloi in the sad wannabe United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission interim report shortlisting the expansion of Heathrow and Gatwick as the best options for meeting future capacity requirements for air transport, rather than just a very brief pause while the President catches his breath and/or reads the report [for it is only three hundred odd pages and a short read], then are things in a far greater turmoil than you will ever be made aware of and there be new disruptive constructive and revolutionary evolutionary players at the controls of a whole new set of, and new intelligence set for, Great Games ….. with AIMaster Reset and ReBoot of the Original Intelligent Great Game.

    A little XSSXXXXmas Cheer from Titanic Quarters in Fun Factories and Fabless Foundries, Holywood Palace Barracks Style.

    I Kid U Not :-) What say you, A, Mr Parker, M? Are you up to at least Access to Entry Speed on Virtual Machine Warefare yet? Wanna set of SMARTR Keys to Pass to pass on and share with the other two paraded before bewildering media and bewildered and befuddled select government intelligence oversight committeed heads ?

  10. K

    "but only if it makes significant changes"

    In other words, business as usual, just increase the lip service!

  11. alain williams Silver badge

    The real report ...

    starts with 2 recommendations:

    1) Don't get caught again

    2) Make sure that we catch whistle blowers in time

  12. johnnymotel

    My guess is that this type of surveillance is a bit like online porn. Once the lads get a taste of just what, where and who they can 'look' at, the barriers of what's right and wrong all start to break down. It becomes a sort of voyeurism, to be able to snoop in on Merkel's private conversations ad hoc is a powerful motivator.

    So whatever the governments may rule, I suspect that in the long run nothing much will change and this surveillance will continue.

  13. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Setting the record straight?

    Is it not about time that governments realise that all really smart folk work in the mature private and enterprising pirate sector and would have no wish at all to have anything to do with their pubescent public services which are always in crisis and maladministration mode?

    And that be a number of questions which I suppose very few have any answers for.

    Quite why populations think it wise to vote into office incompetent serial bunglers, is one of life's dismal mysteries for primitive beings.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And is anyone surprised by this?

    This is the typical fluff and FUD they always use to carry on as normal. Everyone involved to date will be promoted and after the speeches and announcements, they'll keep right on doing it.

    Absolutely disgusted by these power mad imbeciles.

  15. Gray

    And it all comes down to semantics, yet again

    "are secure from unwarranted search and invasion of privacy."

    And, pray tell, what is "unwarranted?"

    Who decides?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: And it all comes down to semantics, yet again

      I would have thought "unwarranted" = without a warrant?

      Although somehow I suspect not

    2. tom dial Silver badge

      Re: And it all comes down to semantics, yet again

      Actually, they don't even define "privacy" . I'm only ~87 pages in, though; it's pretty unenlightening so far, but maybe gets better.

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