This comes just days after whistleblower and ex-employee of the NSA Edward Snowden revealed, in top secret documents, that the NSA collects on average 200 million text messages a day and scours them for personal information. With many leaks similar to this coming to light recently, the government has received a huge backlash from the public.
President Obama attempted to address these concerns by reconciling the value of these programs in protecting national security with the importance of preserving American citizens' privacy. In his speech, he said:
Given the unique power of the state, it is not enough for leaders to say, 'Trust us, we won't abuse the data we collect.' For history has too many examples when that trust has been breached. Those who are troubled by our existing programs are not interested in a repeat of 9/11, and those who defend these programs are not dismissive of civil liberties. The challenge is getting the details right, and that's not simple.
Obama revealed several plans for action that would make the NSA's actions more transparent. First, he promised to increase the power of the executive branch in overseeing both domestic and international surveillance activities. In addition, the Director of National Intelligence will review the annual reports of current data gathering initiatives.
In an attempt to increase the transparency of the NSA's actions, Obama promised that he will have the National Security Letters - orders that prevent companies from revealing both how much information the government has requested as well as what they do with that information - revised by the Attorney General to prevent the shroud of secrecy surrounding these documents from becoming indefinite.
Do you think President Obama has done enough to address the opposition to the NSA? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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