US to release annual figures on spying orders and people affected
Legislators, rights groups and Internet companies have asked for transparency of government surveillance
IDG News Service - The U.S. government has decided to release data annually on its secret spy orders and the number of people affected by them, the country's intelligence chief said Thursday.
The government will release the total number of orders issued during the prior 12-month period, and the number of targets affected by the orders, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper said in a statement on "IC on the record," the DNI's page on Tumblr.
The disclosures will be broken down under certain categories such as data requests under the business records provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and National Security Letters issued by the government, he added.
The move follows demands by lawmakers, rights groups and Internet companies that the government should release more information on the secret collection of data from telephone and Internet companies by the National Security Agency.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed through newspapers certain documents that suggested that the government had real-time access to content on servers of some Internet companies, under a surveillance program called Prism. The companies have denied their participation in the NSA program. The Guardian newspaper in the U.K. also published in June a copy of an order to Verizon by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in Washington, D.C., which required Verizon to provide call records or "telephony metadata" of its customers to the NSA on an ongoing daily basis.
Most of these data requests have been in the form of "gag orders," which prohibit the recipients of data request orders from discussing them in public. Microsoft and Google have asked FISC to allow them to disclose aggregate numbers on FISA and related data requests by the government, but the U.S. Department of Justice has postponed replying to the pleas six times so far.
Internet companies like Facebook, Yahoo, Apple and Microsoft have so far released aggregate figures for data requests from the government, but didn't say how many were related to national security. The companies said they could not break out requests under FISA, because those figures were classified.(
"Our ability to discuss these activities is limited by our need to protect intelligence sources and methods," Clapper said in the statement.
He described FISA and national security letters as an "important part of our effort to keep the nation and its citizens safe." Disclosing more detailed information about how they are used and to whom they are directed can help enemies avoid detection, he added.
Following criticism of the NSA surveillance program, President Barack Obama said earlier this month that his administration will appoint an independent board to review the country's surveillance programs, and also add a privacy advocate to defend privacy in the FISA court when agencies ask the court for new surveillance orders. Obama also said he will work with the U.S. Congress to limit data collection by the NSA under the Patriot Act.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
If you use ‘password,’ one the worst passwords, as your password, fail to keep antivirus protection updated and don’t bother to deploy security patches to close critical vulnerabilities, then maybe you should consider working for the cybersecurity-clueless federal government; you’d fit right in, according to Senator Tom Coburn's cybersecurity and critical infrastructure report.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Changing the Way Government Works: Four Technology Trends that Drive Down Costs and Increase Productivity
- This paper discusses four technology-based approaches to improving processes and increasing
productivity while driving down department and agency costs.
- Mobile Policy Checklist
- Here's what to consider when putting together a mobile policy designed to support a highly productive workforce.
- Mobile Applications Case Study: 8 Billion Transactions a Day
- The story documents how the online brokerage company tradeMONSTER created a custom mobile app and the success gleaned from this initiative. Also covered...
- Who's afraid of the big (data) bad wolf? Survive the big data storm by getting ahead of integration and governance functional requirements
- This paper provides a detailed review of the best practices clients should consider before embarking on their big data integration projects.
- Understanding big data so you can act with confidence
- Automating information integration and governance and employing it at the point of data creation helps organizations boost confidence in their big data. All Government IT White Papers
- Mobile Apps and Devices Slash Customer Cycle Time Consolidated Engineering Laboratories' field employees used to collect data on triplicate forms that were sometimes hard to read and difficult to manage. After...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- Testimonial: Cystic Fibrosis Trust Peter Hawkins, the Head of IT for Cystic Fibrosis Trust, discusses the role CommVault's Simpana software platform plays in improving the company's information...
- PST Archiving: What is it and How is it Done? Learn more about what PST data is, the risks relating to it, and how the new PST Archiving feature in the Simpana 10...
- How to Select the Right IoT Platform We are rapidly entering a world where almost everything will be connected to the cloud and managing these connected things and leveraging the...
- All Government IT Webcasts