The Whitehouse has issued a statement from President Barack Obama regarding US meta-data collection programmes. The statement makes it clear that the president has decided that the US government should not collect or hold this data in bulk as it is a privacy concern.
The statement fails to address wider concerns about mass surveillance by the US, UK and other intelligence agencies, following the leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and others that have been raised.
The Pirate Party's Andrew Norton said:
Today the US president admitted the citizen-surveilance was over-reaching. Despite being a staunch defender of the program Obama has decided to restrict it slightly. I find this a promising first step, but we need to see a lot more. At the same time that the UK Government realises it is time they cut back on the blatant violation of our privacy.
These programs were instituted in secret, and with the stated aim of detecting and preventing terrorism, and yet they have singularly failed. To date they have scored a zero on the effectiveness scale, so either it has been unable to detect any real activity, or what activity there is is so vanishingly rare that is is not a real problem. They fail to be proportional to the harm they do, and our governments are still not being open with us about them.
Either way, a program that can't justify its own existence shouldn't be continued no matter what it is; one that abrogates our fundamental rights is one that should never have been started.
It is high time the government as a whole stops justifying mass civil rights violations and mass surveillance by claiming that a nebulous threat justifies it. Terrorism has become a word, a state of mind, that has come to mean less about threats to the country, and more about threats to the people in power in this country.