US State Department: “Surveillance should not be arbitrary,” except when it is

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In a speech before the RightsCon conference in San Francisco, deputy assistant secretary of State Scott Busby expressed official approval for the President’s January 2014 policy that established clearer guidelines about state-driven bulk data collection and surveillance.

Busby said that the US “continues to support strong cybersecurity, including strong encryption protocols.” Busby presented the government’s case as to how, why, and under what conditions American government officials should be allowed to conduct digital surveillance. His speech was approved by all branches of the US government, including the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

“US signals intelligence collection follows the principle that surveillance should not be arbitrary. The new Policy Directive states that signals intelligence activities shall be as tailored as feasible,” Busby added. “We prioritize obtaining data through public sources, as opposed to non-public signals intelligence collection. When decisions about surveillance are made, we assess whether the benefits of surveillance outweigh its risks, and whether there are other, less-intrusive alternatives that might accomplish our foreign intelligence requirements.”


US State Department: “Surveillance should not be arbitrary,” except when it is