Huzzaaaah! The United States is making changes to the way it intercepts, collects and stores the data of billions of people around the world without their knowledge or consent.
According to a report from the New York Times, the NSA will soon have to delete foreigners’ data from their servers. Of course that’s only after they’ve kept it for five years so don’t go celebrating the triumph of human rights just yet.
The is the first time that the US government is actually willing to concede that the 96% of the humans on the globe might also have some basic rights to privacy, and that data protection is not just for US citizens.
The proposed changes to the NSA spying program also tackle another big issue: creating much clearer rules when it comes to spying on world leaders and allies. The US got itself in a bit of a mess when it became clear that they were spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and it looks like the government wants to avoid other such incidents.
Finally gag orders on communications providers, which forbid them from disclosing that they’re sharing data with spy agencies, will also have a limited scope in time, ending after three years unless the agency pleads for further secrecy.
The changes, expected to be made public later on today, will barely impact anyone or anything nor will they do anything to limit the government’s spying ability. However they do open up a dialog on certain issues of privacy, a dialog that could move things towards a more secure and private world.