President Barack Obama’s pledge that the government would no longer be housing vast warehouses of the personal and private communication data of millions of Americans was a relief on the surface, but the vagueness displayed when the specifics were outlined has caused many to raise a significant amount of questions as to how exactly the implementation of this new policy will take place.
According to Politico, President Obama indicated that he would task Attorney General and the intelligence community to determine whether information about incoming and outgoing calls would be provided by independent companies such as Verizon and AT&T, or whether that information would be obtained by some other means. Privacy advocates had hoped that the answer would be that this information would not be obtainable at all – rather that it would remain private without a specific warrant – but that is not going to be the case.
Obama stressed the importance of creating a system which is comparable to the powers that the government has for information gathering under Section 215, which he stated is critical for national security. He did state that more work needed to be done on the system – in all likelihood, the final result will be a compromise that gives something to both sides of the debate.