New Year predictions are always risky, but when it comes to the NSA and its controversial surveillance programs, you don’t have to be privy to secret intelligence to know that reform will arrive. The tricky part is: How real will it be? “I think everybody in Congress and the executive branch understands that’s it gotten to the point where they have to do something,” said Kurt Opsahl, senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, one of the main nonprofits that’s been taking on the spy agency. “You know, they can’t just say, ‘look, everything’s fine, and no changes are necessary.’ So, something will have to be done. The question is whether that will be actual reform or cosmetic.” It’s true that we’ve seen a bang-up finish to 2013 in regard to the NSA story, with the agency and its allies taking three solid hits to the chin. More on the NSA and surveillance Saving the Net from the surveillance state: Glenn Greenwald speaks up (Q&A) Obama: NSA programs could be “redesigned” to prevent abuses Snowden says tech capabilities mustn’t trump laws and values Web inventor Berners-Lee sounds alarm on mass spying Obama, NSA criticized over press freedom Past as prologue? Vietnam-era spying by NSA comes to light On December 16, a conservative federal judge appointed by George Bush the Second ruled, in Klayman v. Obama, that the NSA’s phone-records program violates the Fourth Amendment. And he made no bones about it, calling the program “almost Orwellian” and saying it… [Read full story]
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