Sign up for weekly updates

Will Obama hit the mark on real NSA reform?


UPDATE from the Electronic Frontier Foundation: Rating Obama's NSA Reform Plan: EFF Scorecard Explained (17 January 2014)

On Friday [17 January 2014], President Barack Obama will announce changes and potential reforms he will make to the National Security Agency (NSA). What can we expect? Many people are skeptical that the president will create meaningful limits to the NSA's practice of sweeping up the digital communications of millions of people worldwide. Instead of actually stopping the spying, Obama could just make pronouncements calling for more transparency or additional layers of bureaucratic oversight. Basically, he could duck the most important thing he could do to show leadership: rein in government surveillance.

We've compiled a list of common-sense fixes that the President could—and should—announce at his briefing on Friday. Many of these are similar to measures proposed by the president's own Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, which produced a report with over 40 recommendations last month. The list below is not comprehensive, but it addresses the central problems with NSA surveillance. Fixing all of them will go a long way toward restoring America's trust in its government and resolving some of the most egregious civil liberties abuses of the NSA.

We'll be scoring Obama's presentation on Friday and we'll let you know which, if any, of these reforms he supports. You can help us pressure Obama in the coming days by tweeting these reforms at him.

  1. Stop mass surveillance of digital communications and communication records.
  2. Protect the privacy rights of foreigners.
  3. Don’t turn communications companies into the new Big Brother: no data retention mandate.
  4. National Security Letters need prior judicial review and should never be accompanied by a perpetual gag order.
  5. Stop undermining Internet security, weakening encryption, and infiltrating companies.
  6. Oppose the FISA Improvements Act.
  7. Reject the third party doctrine.
  8. Provide a full public accounting of our surveillance apparatus.
  9. Reform the state secrets privilege and stop overclassifying.
  10. Reform the FISA court: provide a public advocate and stop secret law.
  11. Protect national security whistleblowers working for the public good.
  12. Criminal defendants should know if national security surveillance is being used against them.

Take Action

Visit the EFF site to quickly tweet reforms at Obama

What other IFEX members are saying

Latest Tweet:

The Liberian Ministry of Information has promised to investigate threats made against popular talk show host T-Max…

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.