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

Ending Section 215: Bulk Telephony Metadata Program

Today, President Obama released a statement (and the White House released a Fact Sheet) declaring the Administration's proposal to end Section 215: Bulk Telephony Metadata Program. This transitional step will make the government go through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) if data needs to be obtained from telephone companies.

This past January, January 17, 2014, the Obama Administration released a Fact Sheet reviewing the intelligence programs. New directives were made making certain that: [1] "Absent an emergency situation, the government can query the telephony metadata collected pursuant to the program only after a judge approves the use of specific numbers for such queries based on national security concerns; and [2] The results of any query are limited to metadata within two hops of the selection term being used, instead of three."

The President believes that, "this approach will best ensure that we have the information we need to meet our intelligence needs while enhancing public confidence in the manner in which the information is collected and held."