President Obama announced a plan last week for reforming the NSA's Domestic Surveillance Program, which is due to a fair amount of pressure he's been receiving, as it's been seven months since Edward Snowden revealed the existence of a surveillance program. An overwhelming majority of Americans feel the government is collecting too much personal data, says Brad Bannon, of Bannon Communications Research, in Washington, D.C.
As an indication of how unhappy people are with the situation, Bannon says Snowden is widely viewed by the American public as a whistle blower as opposed to a traitor. Senator Feinstein, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the CIA was capping messages from congressional computers and Jimmy Carter said he didn't use email because the NSA was spying on him. Last June, a Federal District Court Judge in Washington, D.C. ruled that the meta data program was unconstitutional because it violated the 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure. These were all more reasons why the President had to do something and modest would be a good way to describe his recommendations, says Bannon.
The most important recommendation was about the meta data program, says Bannon. Right now, when the NSA does a data dump on people's phone conversations, the data is held 5 years and the President changed that the NSA wouldn't hold the data but the telecom companies would for 18 months. Also, Obama beefed up the judicial checks on the NSA subpoenaing meta data from the telcom's, which is probably the single biggest change in the President's plan. The President didn't make any changes to the internet, however, which most Americans are unhappy about. "It's going to be rought sledding if the program's going to survive next year," Bannon says.
Brad Bannon is President of Bannon Communications Research, a Washington, D.C.-based political polling and consulting firm. More information can be found at www.bannoncr.com. This video commentary was hosted by The Legal Broadcast Network, which provides on-demand legal content. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.