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The Code War

Presidential Task Force Report Suggests Taking Intelligence Out Of Military Hands

The unpublished report suggests that user data would be held either by the phone companies or by a third-party organization.

Presidential Task Force Report Suggests Taking Intelligence Out Of Military Hands

[Image: Flickr user RestrictedData]

A task force set up by President Obama in the wake of the Edward Snowden data dump—the gift that keeps on givingmay recommend that intelligence gathering is taken out of the hands of the military. The proposals, which won't be seen until the weekend, and are not binding, will limit the way that data belonging to citizens is both gathered and held, as well as imposing tighter conditions on allowing the authorities to sift through the information.

Instead of being held by the NSA, data and phone records would be held by the phone companies, or a separate, third-party organization. Any request by the NSA to get its hands on these records would have to undergo much more stringent checks. A civilian would be put in charge of the NSA, and it would be uncoupled from the military's cyberwarfare unit, Cyber Command. And background checks on military workers would be done by a nonprofit organization.

The report, which stretches to hundreds of pages, also suggests that other governments aim for some sort of international agreement to cover cyber-security and warfare. That chimes with the open letter sent earlier this week, by eight tech firms, who asked President Obama and Congress to rethink the nation's attitude to surveillance.

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