obama white house video

Following a series of meetings with tech executives a government leaders this week, President Obama held a press conference this morning to describe his plan to assuage concerns among Americans and foreigners regarding the legality of US surveillance activities.

During his speech, the President said that the surveillance programs in use by government agencies right now are “operating in a way that prevents abuse.” But the question for his administration, he posed, is how does it make “American people more comfortable?”

So he outlined the following four initiatives…

As transcribed by CNET:

  • The first initiative will seek “appropriate reforms” to Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which deals with the government collecting data from Americans’ phone calls.
  • Secondly, Obama said he would work with Congress to improve the public’s confidence in the oversight conducted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), which provides judicial review of intelligence activities .
  •  Third, the President is directing the intelligence community make more information public about its spying programs. “We’ve already declassified unprecedented information about the NSA, but we can go further. So at my direction, the Department of Justice will make public the legal rationale for the government’s collection activities under Section 215 of the Patriot Act,” Obama said.
  • Fourth, Obama will work with a group of outside experts to review intelligence and communications technologies. “We need new thinking for a new era. We now have to unravel terrorist plots by finding a needle in a haystack of global telecommunications, and meanwhile technology has given governments, including our own, unprecedented capability to monitor communications,” he said.

These initiatives—particularly the third one—should appease Apple and a number of other tech companies, who formed an alliance last month in an effort to push for greater government transparency on its surveillance strategies and the information it’s collected.


In fact, today’s press conference comes after the President reportedly met with Tim Cook and several other high level executives for a closed-door meeting on Thursday to discuss surveillance and related topics. So it’s likely they were able to weigh in on the approach.

iDB has followed this situation with great interest over the past three months because Apple was named as one of the 9 companies that are allegedly participating in a program that gives the government unrestricted access to private user information without a warrant.

Apple has denied the claims, and has promised to be more open in the future about the information requests it receives. And Obama’s plan should help them with that.

What do you think of Obama’s 4 initiatives? Do they make you feel any better about the whole surveillance thing?

Top image via White House Video

  • JaeM1llz

    Buck Ofama.

  • Hermès Vainstar Chu

    pshhhhh Snowden did what he had to do to expose the truth, this is probably to sugar coat the truth

  • Austen

    I still don’t think they should track everything I’m doing, unless they want to know what kind of porn to watch.

  • dan bacon

    I don’t have a problem with the NSA monitoring phone records. It’s not like they care about conversations between me and my friends. Also, none of the records can be used in court cause they didn’t have warrant, so it’s not like they are trying to find a way to blackmail people. This really isn’t that big of a deal.

    • Falk M.

      There were lots of people like you back in the days before Hitler passed the Reichsermächtigungsgesetz. (Enabling Act of 1933)

      • dan bacon

        Don’t know what that is and I don’t feel like looking it up. If your comparing Obama and the United States to Hitler and Nazi Germany then you’re an idiot.

      • Hoang Nguyen

        No! You are an IDIOT Mister!

      • Jonathan

        He’s saying these things start out small and history shows they can end up with world wars. Hitler was democratically elected, first it’s the nut jobs that suspect and them suddenly its too late by the time everyone realises what’s happening.

      • Falk M.

        First they came for the socialists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

        Then they came for the trade unionists,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

        Then they came for the Jews,
        and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

        Then they came for me,
        and there was no one left to speak for me.

      • Falk M.

        I’m not saying Obama wants to walk the path of extinguishing “races” or any other political motifs, but all I’m saying is that this kind of thinking is more dangerous than you think because it blinds you for the dangers that might be ahead and certainly you should be worried about what happens to your data.

        Who guarantees you your data is yours?
        Oh well, I think Americans are a lot more “liberal” about their privacy anyways…

      • Patrick

        look guys since we are having this conversation i would like to point out some things that i think are true, the government and the president are puppets controlled by the illuminati, this dates back to the templars, now all this surveillance the RFID chips everything has a reason and terrorism is not one, its all for the new world order, they will know in a few years time every single fuck1ng thing that you do in your life, and no one cares about doing anything about it now, imagine 50 years from now all they have to do is initiate marshal law then all of us are screwed no matter what. think!

      • Kurt

        Bill Gates and some others have agreed to not let the world population pass 8.3 billion. This will happen around 2025-2030. These people like Ted Turner, owner of CNN, want a world population reduction of up to 95%. But something tells me you know this already. Georgia Stones, vaccines, GMO, chemtrails, etc all point and help to reduce the population. They want to kill us off, because we are scum.

      • Falk M.

        Ah, so that’s why Gates works towards helping Africa with various diseases? I see…

      • Kurt

        I know his vaccines have been paralyzing people in India (people who are paralyzed don’t reproduce generally) and another vaccine that turns girls sterile, unable to reproduce.

      • Kurt

        I hate people saying. “I have nothing to hide” If you have nothing to hide, then Obama has no reason nor right destroying the constitution and ignoring the 4th amendment, both things he is against. And It’s quite obvious Obama is for depopulation of the earth. I’m quite certain he is happy with 54% of black Americans being aborted. He voted 100% for pro abortion bills as a senator and tried to legalize abortion after the birth of the baby. MSNBC is now trying to promote abortion up to the age of 3. You will see this more and more for these evil liberals.

      • Patrick

        glad to know that i’m not the only one out there, and you forgot the fluoride in water which makes you dumber and easier to control

      • Kurt

        You mean the delicious fluoride that nazi germany gave to those in the camps? and the loving Soviets put in the water? Amazing how they are trying to kill us on every front.

      • FreddyPancakes

        Wait so pollution isn’t enough? They need chemtrails to “control the population” too? And let me guess, the right to bear arms was suggested as another means of population control?

      • Kurt

        more guns = lower crime rate. Check the FBI statistics for the past 20 years. Chicago and other similar cities only ones who have guns are criminals and police. Since the ban on guns crime has skyrocketed. In stead of mocking, why don’t you just take sometime out and see if we are right or wrong. infowars dot com Good luck trying to prove government documents as false. This stuff is real and is happening.

    • Jonathan

      Yes that’s what all those people in Guantanamo are saying, while they wait for their day in court.

      • Kurt

        They aren’t saying that because Obama closed Guantanamo. remember he said it was the very first thing he will do when elected in 2008. So its closed now…oh wait what!! If Rand Paul is not elected President or another Libertarian who priority is freedom not fake security, Revelations is coming true very soon.

      • TheVixen01

        @Jonathan – they weren’t only waiting for their day in court – many were there because their own countries (citizenship) wouldn’t let them re-enter their countries.

    • TheVixen01

      @Dan – the amount of data they have is 1. Far too expensive to be justifiable 2. Scary because your location at any given time is accessible 3. STORED on Internet-accessible drives.
      That means its possible to hack it and that unscrupulous employees can view photos/videos/conversations.

      This is 1984

      What he said is just vague, meaningless, and meant to cloak the truth to increase his popularity.

  • Hoang Nguyen

    F Obama with a capital F.

  • Jonathan

    So the closed door meeting with top tech execs, was a push towards transparency, lol. The office of president is a joke.

  • Carlos

    The NSA should be spying on our government, not on its people.

  • Jarryd Richards

    Surely it would be a better use of resources for the US government to focus their surveillance programs on a group of people suspected of activity that could undermine national security rather than the whole of the United States.

    • Greg Whitaker

      Gotta keep their sheep in check.

  • D R

    1) “appropriate reforms”->this was tried the last time. Most likely, the same thing will happen again, where most of the working drafts will put more limitations on data gathering, then just before the vote happens, the last draft will greatly expand what can be gathered. Day after the vote, someone will be quoted as promising “We will not abuse these powers.”
    2) This is just a PR campaign
    3) Yes, it is unprecedented to find out anything about what the NSA is doing. Even after some of Snowden’s leaks, the NSA continued lying about what they were doing, then after more info, went silent. Nobody will believe what they publish, because at best, it will only be related to the truth in that the person who writes it up will know what the truth really is.
    4) Linked to step 1, greatly expand what data is gathered.

    Hell, they are busy making sure their lies will never be revealed by someone in Snowden’s position again. It’s not “we promise to stop lying”, it’s “you won’t find out we are lying using the same methods as before”.

  • Kurt

    Do you have chemtrails in Germany? Here in South Korea there are no Chemtrails. I’m not looking forward to seeing them when I move back to United Stazi States of America