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NSA task force to recommend major changes in surveillance

Recommendations from the White House panel will include taking the phone records database away from the NSA

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A U.S. National Security Agency surveillance review board report, to be released Wednesday, will recommend major changes in the way the agency tracks terrorism suspects, according to news reports.

The review board, appointed by President Barack Obama, will recommend that the NSA no longer hold a huge database of U.S. telephone records collected by the NSA, according to the Washington Post. The phone records should be held by the telecom carriers or by a third party, the board recommended, according to the Post.

The White House will release the recommendations of the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology Wednesday to correct recent news reports about the content of the panel's report, White House spokesman Jay Carney said during a press briefing.

Obama still believes the NSA's surveillance programs protect U.S. security, Carney said. "His priority remains the safety and security of the American people," Carney said.

Still, Obama is open to looking at new ways to conduct surveillance programs, Carney said. The NSA surveillance programs have come under public scrutiny after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents earlier this year.

This week, Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, issued an opinion saying the NSA's phone records collection program likely violates the U.S. Constitution. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by four U.S. residents challenging the phone records program.

The NSA task force will also recommend that the government not ask tech companies to build backdoors into their products, as has been alleged in press reports of the Snowden leaks. The panel will also recommend that the NSA not work to undermine global encryption standards, which has also been alleged.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.



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