As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama announced: “I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom. That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. That is not who we are.”
Obama ran for the US presidency in 2007 promising to brush back sweeping surveillance his predecessor introduced in the name of battling terrorism – the Patriot Act, which has generated so much controversy.
That suggested he would restore to Americans the liberties they cherish. The Patriot Act, said one of its critics, “gives the FBI a ‘blank check’ to violate the communications privacy of countless innocent Americans.”
But Obama expanded data-mining initiatives.
British newspaper The Guardian broke the story of a secret warrant for phone records from the company Verizon – with dates of use, duration, places and numbers dialled internationally and nationally.
John Miller, former Deputy Director of National Intelligence, appeared to defend the practice, raising the spectre of doubt: “If you’re watching a thousand suspected terrorist numbers in Pakistan and Afghanistan and you see that this number is in contact with 50 other numbers, but three of them are in the United States, does that mean that a terrorist there has a cousin in Chicago? Or does that mean that there’s a cell in the United States?”
The authorities say that the content of the communications is not recorded; that would be illegal. But national intelligence has confirmed that since 2007 the government has searched nine leading Internet companies’ servers for emails, videos, photographs and other documents – for potentially terrorism-linked data – the PRISM programme – but that it can’t intentionally target people in the US.
That leaves the privacy of anyone not in the US fair game for scrutiny – rights defenders say espionage – in the name of US security.
The Boston bombers plotted their actions within the country but they slipped the net.
- 1Pope Francis kisses hands of Holocaust survivors
- 23D, 360° virtual reality is ready to launch – on an adult film
- 3Bombing in Syria not World War III, says Russia’s EU ambassador
- 4Migrant crisis: Hungary poised to shut unofficial border crossings with Croatia
- 5Syria: We believe that Russia has the wrong strategy, says US
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Syrian refugee tripped by shamed camera woman is named
- 3Hungarian reporter who tripped migrants apologises for her actions
- 4NASA discovers evidence of “liquid briny water” flowing on Mars
- 5Latest News Bulletin
- 6At least 220 dead in stampede outside Mecca, Saudi Arabia reports
- 7Hungarian camera woman caught on video kicking and tripping migrants could face jail
- 8International breaking news | euronews online world breaking news in video
- 9Why aren’t rich Gulf states welcoming Syrian refugees…or are they?
- 10Why aren’t rich Gulf states welcoming Syrian refugees… or are they?
- 11[Live] All the Rugby World Cup news in one place
- 12Spain: Catalan President faces ‘civil disobedience’ charges over breakaway vote
- 13International news | euronews, latest international news
- 14Banzai back in the vocabulary as Japan passes law allowing combat deployments
- 15Exclusive: shipwatchers chart Russian hardware heading into Med
- 16Which European countries offer the most social benefits to migrants?
- 17What the top tweets worldwide are saying about #refugees
- 18[Live] Catalonia: separatists heading for clear win in crucial elections
- 19Israel agents ‘incite’ stone-throwing in West Bank
- 20Fifa suspends Blatter, Platini and Valcke
Latest world news
Huge rally in Berlin says ‘No’ to EU-US trade deal
Deadly Ankara blasts highly likely to be suicide bombings, says Turkish PM
Pride over Nobel Peace Prize win after turbulent year in Tunisia
Dutch police arrest 11 following refugee-shelter attack
Australia: anti-mosque protest draws hundreds to rural Bendigo
Wires > News
- 19:05 CET Dutch PM condemns attack on shelter for Syrian refugees
- 19:02 CET Bombs kill 86 at pro-Kurdish rally in Turkish capital
- 19:00 CET Greece’s Tsipras seeks to bolster party after election win
- 17:45 CET Protesters attack party offices in Iraq’s Kurdistan region
- 16:14 CET Germany, EU deny report on European solidarity tax
- 16:10 CET Turkish editor jailed pending trial for insulting Erdogan – media
- 14:41 CET Russia backs bigger OSCE mission in Ukraine
- 13:55 CET Sudan’s Bashir urges rebels to resume talks, only one notable…