, WASHINGTON, Jan 17 – President Barack Obama on Friday will announce the end of a telephone metadata collection program that has come under harsh criticism, a senior US official told AFP.
“In his speech, the President will say that he is ordering a transition that will end the Section 215 telephone metadata program as it currently exists,” the official said, as Obama prepared to unveil long awaited reforms of NSA surveillance techniques.
Instead, the United States will “move to a program that preserves the capabilities we need without the government holding this bulk meta-data.”
The official added: “The President believes that the 215 program addresses important capabilities that allow us to counter-terrorism, but that we can and should be able to preserve those capabilities while addressing the privacy and civil liberties concerns that are raised by the government holding this meta-data.”
The reforms have been prompted by the torrent of leaks of classified surveillance information from fugitive ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden.