Stopping the NSA’s “About” Collection Is Not Sufficient

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The NSA recently said it would stop collecting signals intelligence solely “about” foreign targets by tapping the backbone of the internet resident within the United States. The announcement comes ahead of congressional consideration of the NSA’ s broader authorities outlined in Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a provision that is due to expire at the end of the year unless reauthorized by Congress. The Cipher Brief spoke with Nuala O’Connor, the President and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology, about what the NSA changes are, why they came about, and how they fit into the broader debate over reauthorizing the controversial authorities under which the NSA gleans foreign intelligence from communications data within or transiting the United States.

The Cipher Brief: What is “about” collection under FISA Section 702 and how was it collected?

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