Barack Obama is expected to ask Congress to end the right of the US National Security Agency to bulk collect phone records, whilst retaining the right to access ‘metadata’ when needed, in the wake of ongoing fallout from the Edward Snowden affair.
Should the measure be approved it would bring an end to the practice of routinely cataloguing millions of phone calls made in the US. Instead the government would first need to obtain express permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court if it wished to review the time and duration of telephone calls that it suspects may be terror related.
The New York Times, which broke the story, reports that such data would instead be maintained by telephone companies directly, although they would be under no obligation to hold the data any longer than they do at present.
It is hoped such a measure will help placate foreign governments and ordinary citizens who have been perturbed to learn of the extent of US snooping, whilst retaining as many intelligence assets as possible.