The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Signals Intelligence Activities: President Obama Releases New Policy Directive

Today, President OU.S. Great Sealbama released a Presidential Policy Directive, "Signals Intelligence Activities," which outlines the manner in which signals intelligence is authorized to be collected by the United States. He stated that gathering practices must be adherent to privacy and civil liberties, "in accordance with the Constitution and applicable statutes, Executive Orders, proclamations, and Presidential directive".

Signals intelligence shall not be used to, "collect such information to afford a competitive advantage to U.S. companies and U.S. business sectors commercially." The Directive goes on to limit "bulk gathering" of information, which has been a recent habit by multiple agencies that creates more of a backlog of information than anyone knows what to do with.

Intelligence gathering has been an increasingly hot issue for the U.S. in recent months, as its practices of surveiling foreign governments and political leaders came to the forefront of intelligence news. With this new directive, President Obama should be able to reduce the number of apologies he will have to make on behalf of organizations such as the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) and NSA (National Security Agency). It is also a leap of progress for many civil rights activist groups who have been increasingly concerned about the rights to privacy by U.S. citizens. Find more on Intelligence at the HSDL's Featured Topics Page on Cyber Policy.