Opinion divided on Obama NSA spying reforms

euronews (in English)
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Trying to get the balance right in reforming US spying
policies, President Barack Obama has gone too far for some and not far enough for others.

Some Republican critics fear the security of the United States could be compromised by his moves to take into account privacy concerns.

But protesters and civil liberties groups insist more could be done in the wake of spy contractor Edward Snowden’s damaging disclosures about the National Security Agency or NSA’s monitoring activities.

“The NSA has overstepped its bounds with regard to innocent people’s privacy in a whole bunch of different areas,” said Cindy Cohn, Legal Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation digital rights group.

“While it is good that the President is picking off this low hanging fruit and making things better, I don’t think we should lose sight of the bigger picture and on that we still have a very long way to go.”

One of the President’s former senior advisors, however, told euronews that Obama has set an example for others to follow.

“I would like to see other countries come out with an equivalent of the presidential document that says: here’s the principles upon which my intelligence service is going to operate, that they are not going to discriminate against people, that they cannot collect intelligence for the purpose of assisting corporate interests or for stealing industrial secrets,” said Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution think tank.

Among the limited reforms triggered by Snowden’s revelations, Obama has banned US eavesdropping on the leaders of close friends and allies and begun reining in the vast collection of Americans’ phone data.

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