The National Security Agency programs that collect huge volumes of Internet data within the United States are constitutional and employ “reasonable” safeguards designed to protect the rights of Americans, an independent privacy and civil liberties board has found.
In a report released Tuesday night, the bipartisan, five-member Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, appointed by President Barack Obama, largely endorsed a set of NSA surveillance programs that have provoked worldwide controversy since they were disclosed last year by former NSA systems administrator Edward Snowden.
However, the board urged new internal intelligence agency safeguards designed to further guard against misuse.
Under a provision known as Section 702, added in 2008 to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, the NSA uses court orders and taps on fibre optic lines to target the data of foreigners living abroad when their emails, web chats, text messages and other communications traverse the U.S.
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