The name of Edward Snowden has in recent times been one of the most controversial in the arena of international politics. Only now, however, has his name begun to be received with a new and interesting vibe in US politics.
To reassure people’s trust and rebuild the image of the US surveillance agencies in the eyes of the international community urgent reformations of the industry have been announced by President Obama in a historic speech last Monday.
The key message sent by Obama in his speech reflected the necessity to restrain surveillance agencies’ access to personal information. One of the ways to achieve this goal offered by Obama is the establishment of the public interest advocate at the foreign intelligence surveillance court. From now on, special judges will be entitled to decide whether to provide the governmental body with the right to access the personal information in collated data.
Before making the decision, the special judges will have to hear both involved sides – the party requiring the access and the party able to provide it. Moreover, the new special initiative by the president will assess the impact of “Big Data” on personal privacy. Among other reforms, Obama announced that the US will cease monitoring the communications of heads of state and government of its close friends and allies.
The new NSA reforms were welcomed by many, while also facing some fierce criticism. Opponents have accused the reforms of being cosmetic.
Rather than being seen as cosmetic, the steps outlined by Obama in his speech have to be praised in many aspects. Firstly and most importantly, the US President has established a new vector in the debate over surveillance operation, directing it towards the importance of social liberties and securities. It is definitely a long process ahead and the healthy vector of the further developments in this area is extremely important.
Moreover, Obama’s speech was necessary in terms of voicing out some of the key problems in the surveillance system. Their recognition, the ability to face them and bring them to the agenda can already be considered as a major step towards their solution.
The reformation of the NSA and other surveillance systems is much-needed, with the debate over the low protection of personal data rising rapidly. Edward Snowden has provided a vital impetus to initiate the. Even in their initial stages, Obama’s reforms offers hope that the effect technology has on people’s privacy and freedoms will be controlled and that the technological capabilities of the surveillance systems will be monitored more closely. The long-wanted transformations of the NSA signify how political events that are considered far from being prosperous to the government can in fact bring productive consequences for the country.
Do the NSA reforms represent a short-term cosmetic move to cover productive first steps that give insight for further in-depth transformations?