Rights Watch says Obama not gone far enough on NSA reforms
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[January 21, 2014]
By Michelle Martin
BERLIN (Reuters) — U.S. President Barack
Obama has not gone far enough in reforming the monitoring activities of
the National Security Agency (NSA) and is continuing to violate the
privacy rights of individuals, the head of Human Rights Watch told
On Friday, Obama banned eavesdropping on the leaders of allies and
began reining in the vast collection of U.S. citizens' phone data as
he sought to reassure Americans and foreigners the United States
would take into account privacy concerns highlighted by former NSA
contractor Edward Snowden's revelations.
"All Obama has offered us is some vague assurance that people's
communications will be listened to only if there is a national
security interest at stake, which is a pretty fuzzy broad standard,"
Kenneth Roth, executive director of New York-based Human Rights
Watch, said in an interview in Berlin.
"In none of this has there been a recognition that non-Americans
outside the United States have a right to the privacy of their
communications, ... metadata and that everybody has a right not to
have their electronic communications scooped up into a government
computer," he added.
Roth said there was no proof that gathering communications en masse
had made a difference to security.
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In its annual global report, HRW said there was a risk that
governments would respond to the U.S. government's "overreaching" by
making people's data stay in their own country, which could lead to
more censorship of the Internet.
(Additional reporting by Michael Nienaber and Alexander Ratz;
editing by Robin Pomeroy)
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