A new door for government agencies to share “raw information” about citizens has been opened by a rules change made by President Obama, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Report.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, one of multiple privacy organizations expressing concern about the change, explains what is going on.
“President Barack Obama’s administration just finalized rules to make it easier for the nation’s intelligence agencies to share unfiltered information about innocent people.”
The organization reported the rules “will let the NSA – which collects information under that authority with little oversight, transparency, or concern for privacy – share the raw streams of communications it intercepts directly with agencies including the FBI, the DEA, and the Department of Homeland Security.”
The group called it “a huge and troubling shift in the way those intelligence agencies receive information collected by the NSA.”
“Domestic agencies like the FBI are subject to more privacy protections, including warrant requirements. Previously, the NSA shared data with these agencies only after it had screened the data, filtering out unnecessary personal information, including about innocent people whose communications were swept up the NSA’s massive surveillance operations.”
The organization said there still appear to be “conditions that need to be met before the NSA will grant domestic intelligence analysts access to the raw streams.”
But EFF pointed out the change allows information that is “collected without a warrant – or indeed any involvement by a court at all” – to be used however prosecutors may choose.
Said EFF: “We had hoped for more. In November, we and other civil liberties and privacy groups sent a letter to President Obama asking him to improve transparency and accountability, especially around government surveillance, before he leaves office. This is not the transparency we were hoping for.”
At the Electronic Privacy Information Center there also were concerns.