And speaking of mass surveillance, yesterday the ODNI posted this:
Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-28 – Signals Intelligence Activities establishes a process for determining the permissible uses of nonpublicly available signals intelligence that the United States collects in bulk. It also directs the Director of National Intelligence to “maintain a list of permissible uses of signals intelligence collected in bulk” and make the list “publicly available to the maximum extent feasible, consistent with the national security.”
Consistent with that directive, I am hereby releasing the current list of permissible uses of nonpublicly available signals intelligence that the United States collects in bulk.
Signals intelligence collected in “bulk” is defined as “the authorized collection of large quantities of signals intelligence data which, due to technical or operational considerations, is acquired without the use of discriminants (e.g., specific identifiers, selection terms, etc.).” As of Jan. 17, 2014, nonpublicly available signals intelligence collected by the United States in bulk may be used by the United States “only for the purposes of detecting and countering:
- Espionage and other threats and activities directed by foreign powers or their intelligence services against the United States and its interests;
- Threats to the United States and its interests from terrorism;
- Threats to the United States and its interests from the development, possession, proliferation, or use of weapons of mass destruction;
- Cybersecurity threats;
- Threats to U.S. or allied Armed Forces or other U.S. or allied personnel; and
- Transnational criminal threats, including illicit finance and sanctions evasion related to the other purposes named above.”
Further, as prescribed in PPD-28, “in no event may signals intelligence collected in bulk be used for the purpose of suppressing or burdening criticism or dissent; disadvantaging persons based on their ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion; affording a competitive advantage to U.S. companies and U.S. business sectors commercially;” or achieving any purpose other than those identified above.
James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence
But of course, that doesn’t stop the mass collection of data and can’t guarantee that information collected will not be misused by rogue employees or others.