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Obama: Gov’t Surveillance of phone calls and Emails represents ‘modest’ privacy encroachment

OBAMA GOVT SURVEILLANCE Obama: Gov’t Surveillance of phone calls and Emails represents ‘modest’ privacy encroachment

President Barack Obama

Obama: Gov’t Surveillance of phone calls and Emails represents ‘modest’ privacy encroachment

By Your Black World

In a press briefing today, President Obama said monitoring people’s emails and phone records represent “modest encroachments” on privacy that help detect terrorist activity.

“They make a difference in our capacity to anticipate and prevent possible terrorist activity,” Obama said of the wide ranging surveillance program, which had been kept secret until this week.

“Nobody is listening to your telephone calls,” Obama said reassuringly, responding to reports that the U.S. intelligence community is sweeping and monitoring the telephone and online communication records of Americans.

In a statement this week, Director of National Security James Clapper confirmed the existence of a program using data from some of the world’s largest online companies — such as Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo and Facebook — to monitor online activities. Clapper first denied the existence of the program, but a report by The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald forced him to acknowledge the program’s existence.

President Obama said harvesting the online and phone records of Americans is necessary for security.

“You can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience,” Obama said. “We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”

President Obama acknowledged that he was skeptical of the spy program when he came into office in 2009, but later concluded that it was necessary.

“We scrubbed them thoroughly,” Obama said. “We actually expanded some of the oversight, increased some of the safeguards. But my assessment and my team’s assessment was that they help us prevent terrorist attacks. And the modest encroachments on privacy that are involved in getting phone numbers or duration [of calls] without a name attached and not looking at content, that on net it was worth us doing.”

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    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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