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Effective immediately, the NSA will have to seek prior approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court before initiating new queries of bulk meta-data.
The president ordered the NSA and Attorney General Eric Holder to develop recommendations over the next 60 days as to how the program should be structured, and how meta-data should be stored. This window coincides with the late March deadline by which Congress must vote to re-authorize many intelligence practices anyway.
The proposal would also seek to add an element of transparency to the meta-data program by giving the FISA court more leeway to declassify its rationales for approving or rejecting the government’s data collection requests. Obama will also establish a group of outside advocates for the FISA court in hopes of more effectively protecting individuals’ privacy.