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Annotated: The Most Important Passage from President Obama's NSA Speech

Alex Abdo,
Former Senior Staff Attorney,
ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project
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January 17, 2014

President Obama just gave a landmark speech about NSA surveillance and the future of digital privacy. As we noted in our reaction to it (which you can read here), the president introduced a number of welcome, but incremental, reforms to NSA surveillance, while leaving in place — at least for now — the bulk collection of Americans’ sensitive data.

In analyzing what the president’s speech means for bulk collection going forward, much ink will undoubtedly be spilled over a few critical paragraphs. Below, I’ve annotated those paragraphs with my thoughts about how to interpret them. The bottom line? We probably won’t know much until at least March 28. Until then, the NSA will still be ingesting our data in bulk.


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