WhiteHouseWashington's Blog: "White House Panel Slams NSA, Says Mass Spying Is Unnecessary", Washington'sBlog, 19 December 2013.


The President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies releases its report on NSA spying and criticises the practice of mass surveillance as i) unnecessary, ii) seriously open to (future) abuse, and iii) commercially reprehensible.



i) "Our review suggests that the information contributed to terrorist investigations by the use of section 215 telephony meta-data was not essential to preventing attacks and could readily have been obtained in a timely manner using conventional section 215 orders." (p. 104)


ii) "We cannot discount the risk, in light of the lessons of our own history, that at some point in the future, high-level government officials will decide that this massive database of extraordinarily sensitive private information is there for the plucking. Americans must never make the mistake of wholly "trusting" our public officials. As the Church Committee observed more than 35 years ago, when the capacity of government to collect massive amounts of data about individual Americans was still in its infancy, the “massive centralization of . . . information creates a temptation to use it for improper purposes, threatens to 'chill' the exercise of First Amendment rights, and is inimical to the privacy of citizens.” (p.114)


iii) "Governments should not use surveillance to steal industry secrets to advantage their domestic industry" - "Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial systems..." (p. 221)


Emphases added

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