Charlie Savage reports:
The Obama administration is preparing to unveil a legislative proposal to drastically overhaul the National Security Agency’s once-secret bulk phone records program.
Under the proposal, data about Americans’ calling habits would be kept in the hands of phone companies, which would not be required to retain the data for any longer than they normally would, according to senior administration officials. If approved by Congress, the changes would end the most controversial part of the bulk phone records program, a major focus of privacy concerns inside the United States since its existence was leaked last year.
Read more on the New York Times.
But wait, there’s more…. Spencer Ackerman reports that the House intelligence committee leadership is circulating a bill that would limit mass surveillance of our phone data but permit the government to
collect electronic communications records based on “reasonable articulable suspicion”, rather than probable cause or relevance to a terrorism investigation, from someone deemed to be an agent of a foreign power, associated with an agent of a foreign power, or “in contact with, or known to, a suspected agent of a foreign power.”
Read more on The Guardian.
In the meantime, Obama intends to extend the existing program for three more months to give Congress time to come up with legislation.
You can read Stewart Baker’s commentary on these developments on The Volokh Conspiracy.
Update 1: The text of the bill can be found on JustSecurity (pdf).