NSA review panel recommends changes to telephone metadata program

A panel of experts appointed by President Obama to investigate the National Security Agency's surveillance practices recommended that the president make changes to the NSA's program that collects telephone metadata on virtually every call Americans make. The recommendation was part of a raft of suggestions the panel delivered in its review, which Obama ordered in August in the wake of disclosures made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The review panel said the metadata--information such as phone numbers and the length and location of every call--should stay in the hands of telecommunications companies or a private consortium. The panel also recommended that a court order should be necessary each time NSA analysts want to search the database for the information on any individual to see if that individual is linked to a terrorism investigation. "In our view, the current storage by the government of bulk metadata creates potential risks to public trust, personal privacy, and civil liberty," the report said. Importantly, while the NSA has said it uses the telephone data to search for links between people as a method to finding terrorism suspects, the report says it "was not essential to preventing attacks." Article