House Intel panel working on bill to save NSA spying
THE LEDE: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) hinted on Tuesday that his National Security Agency reform legislation would preserve the bulk of the agency’s surveillance powers.
He said he and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) have held a series of meeting with their Senate counterparts, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), to discuss the legislation.
“We went over some of these confidence-builders to rebuild trust in these programs and at the end of the day still allow us to do it [conduct surveillance],” Rogers said during a panel discussion hosted by Politico.
Privacy advocates are urging Congress to rein in the NSA’s power in the wake of leaks by Edward Snowden, but Rogers argued that the surveillance programs are critical for thwarting terrorist attacks. He said his legislation would rebuild trust in the NSA by requiring “as much transparency as we can possibly get” and “showing the level of oversight.”
“It’s unbelievable how much oversight we have on these programs,” Rogers said.
Ruppersberger interjected to say that he and Rogers have “different opinions” on the issue, but he agreed that the programs are important for national security.
NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander echoed Rogers’s comments at Tuesday’s event, saying the NSA’s authorities should “stay intact.” He said he is “absolutely open” to transparency measures, but warned that restricting the NSA could lead to another 9/11-style terrorist attack.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the original author of the Patriot Act, are working on legislation that would curb the NSA’s power and end the bulk collection of U.S. phone records.
Consumers ready for IP transition: Obsolete regulations are requiring telecoms to invest in copper-based networks rather than the modern networks that consumers prefer, according to a study by Georgetown University’s Anna-Maria Kovacs, commissioned by the Internet Innovation Alliance.
With 5 percent of U.S. consumers relying exclusively on copper-based networks, “the overwhelming majority of U.S. consumers have a plethora of choices to meet their voice, video, and Internet-access communications needs” and “rely on the use of smart wireless devices, cellphones, wired Internet-enabled VoIP services, and over-the-top Internet-enabled applications (i.e. Skype), far more than on traditional telephony to stay connected in today’s digital age,” the alliance said.
During a press call on the report, the group’s honorary chairman, former Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), said transition from copper-based networks to IP networks is necessary. The transition “would happen over time” and ensure that “no one would be left out,” he said.
GNI gains members: The Global Network Initiative (GNI) announced new members Tuesday, including deep packet inspection technology firm Procera Networks, free expression group PEN American Center, two investment firms and LinkedIn, which joined as an observer for one year.
“As new companies commit to GNI’s principles on freedom of expression and privacy, and as new human rights groups, investors and academics join our efforts, our ability to set a standard for safeguarding online rights is increasing,” Executive Director Susan Morgan said in a statement.
NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander and Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) are scheduled to speak at the Telecommunications Industry Association’s annual conference.
Leading critics of NSA surveillance will speak at the Cato Institute. Speakers include Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), who are all working on legislation to limit NSA spying.
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Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook and LinkedIn will have to wait until the shutdown is over to see any movement on their lawsuits against the U.S. government over surveillance transparency.
It’s time for the gaming industry to go on offense in Washington, the new chief of the American Gaming Association said.
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) argued that the president should get input from Congress on the government’s use of computer viruses and other offensive cyber weapons.
An online sales tax bill will disproportionately hurt minorities and women who own small businesses, the Minority Media Telecommunications Council said.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.) said he is “very close” to introducing legislation that would encourage companies and the government to share information about cyberattacks.