End of the Age News
By Jim Stigleman
Watchdog Group: NSA Must Stop Storing Phone Data
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent watchdog governmental agency, has reached the conclusion that The National Security Agency’s collection and storage of private individual’s phone data is illegal and should be stopped. Though the calls themselves are not stored, this program complies data from millions of phone calls originating in the United States
As part of its concerns, the board pointed-out that the storage of such data could violate private citizen’s constitutional rights to free speech and privacy. The board further said, “Compelled disclosure to the government of information revealing these associations can have a chilling effect on the exercise of First Amendment rights.”
Congress is split on what to do about the program. Some feel that it is a valuable resource to fight terrorism, while others deem it illegal. The White House has publically disagreed with the PCLOB board’s findings implying it will not be adhering to its recommendation.
In other news…
Tensions between China and Japan are rising in the wake of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe’s recent statement that Japanese/Chinese relations are similar to those of Britain and Germany before the start of World War I. Such rhetoric has caused concern for America’s top military commander in the region, Admiral Samuel Locklear.
Addressing the Pentagon in a briefing Locklear said, “I am concerned…” He further stated that the U. S. role in the situation was to promote self-restraint and “hope there will be diplomatic dialogue and a solution to this…Anytime you have two large powers, two large economic powers, two large military powers, that have a disagreement that they’re not talking to each other about, that has no clear diplomatic end state in sight. … The risk calculation can grow.”
Prime Minister Abe implored the countries on Wednesday not to duplicate the mistakes of Britain and Germany. In spite of a strong economic relationship, Germany and Britain fought on opposing sides during World War I. It is uncertain how quickly the U.S. could respond to alleviate such a crisis.
IAEA Chief: ‘Long Way to go in Iran
International Atomic Energy Agency head, Yukiya Amano cautioned on Friday that there was still “a long way to go” in making sure Iran complies with the interim nuclear deal agreed to with world powers. The IAEA was given a greater role in Iran over the next six months to insure this compliance.
A greater presence means more money and resources. An estimated $8 million is needed to help the IAEA inspect nuclear sites in Iran under this new agreement. They will also double the amount of people they have working in Iran. In return for compliance, Iran will get much needed relief from some of the economic sanctions placed on it by the world community.
The next stage of talks- expected to start in February – are expected to be more contentious than those completed this past November because it is expected that Iran will be asked to seriously cut back on its uranium enrichment processes.