Dan Roberts, Paul Lewis and Spencer Ackerman report:
President Barack Obama has conceded that mass collection of private data by the US government may be unnecessary and said there were different ways of “skinning the cat”, which could allow intelligence agencies to keep the country safe without compromising privacy.
In an apparent endorsement of a recommendation by a review panel to shift responsibility for the bulk collection of telephone records away from the National Security Agency and on to the phone companies, the president said change was necessary to restore public confidence.
“In light of the disclosures, it is clear that whatever benefits the configuration of this particular programme may have, may be outweighed by the concerns that people have on its potential abuse,” Obama told an end-of-year White House press conference. “If it that’s the case, there may be a better way of skinning the cat.”
Read more on The Guardian. Of course, he didn’t acknowledge that some programs have no evidence of any actual necessity or helpfulness. That’s a somewhat big hole in his comments, no? This is not just an issue of confidence and trust, Mr. President. And hopefully, the courts will issue a permanent injunction on the bulk collection program under Section 215 if the government doesn’t put a halt to it voluntarily.