Charlie Savage, New York Times:
Under the proposal, data about Americans’ calling habits would be kept in the hands of phone companies, which would not be required to retain the data for any longer than they normally would, according to senior administration officials. If approved by Congress, the changes would end the most controversial part of the bulk phone records program, a major focus of privacy concerns inside the United States since its existence was leaked last year.
As I have said before, I remain optimistic that reforming this system is being taken very seriously. But, while this provides some level of comfort to some Americans, it does nothing for those of us who live outside of the country. While I live in one of the Five Eyes nations, the extent to which Canadian communications are being monitored is unclear. As for those who live elsewhere, this spying remains unethical by the United States’ own standards. As Glenn Greenwald noted yesterday:
Somewhere along the way, this idea arose that the only “legitimate” disclosures involve ones showing violations of the rights of American citizens. Anything else, this reasoning holds, is invalid, and because Snowden leaked documents that go beyond the violation of Americans’ rights, he is not a legitimate whistleblower.
Who created the uber-nationalistic standard that the only valid disclosures are ones involving the rights of Americans? Are we are all supposed to regard non-Americans as irrelevant?
Greenwald goes on to cite the NSA’s hypocrisy of accusing the Chinese government of backdoors in Huawei products while the NSA was actively exploiting similar backdoors in Huawei products.
Yet, I remain a little optimistic. The American people, and people all over the world, have demonstrated that they’re not willing to let this issue slide. With the pressure on, I think reforms will be necessary.