You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Obama Changes Rules for NSA Data Collection Today, the President announced a plan to overhaul the way the National Security Agency handles cell phone metadata, among other security policy changes.

By Catherine Clifford

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In a speech delivered at the Department of Justice in Washington today, President Obama announced a change to the way your personal cell phone metadata is stored by the U.S. government.

In the past year, revelations about the National Security Agency's policy of gathering and saving vast quantities of personal cell phone data have been a subject of national outrage. The angst over personal security was catalyzed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's disclosure of U.S. government surveillance policies.

While Obama said back in June that he "welcomed" debate about the policies, he certainly didn't start the conversation unprovoked. That's because it's messy, complicated and both civil liberty advocates and national security advocates are very passionate. For example, one civil liberties group, Demand Progress, has called for the end of the government collection of metadata completely.

Related: Marissa Mayer, Tim Cook & Other Tech Titans Meet With Obama on Health Care, Surveillance

While Obama said Friday that the current practice of collecting bulk cell phone metadata will continue, he did say that an independent third party will hold the data, not the government itself. Also, the U.S. government will only be able to pull phone records from that third party storage facility that are two steps removed from a terrorist organization. Previously, phone records have been able to be pulled if they are suspected to be as far as three steps removed from a terrorist organization, according to a fact sheet released by the White House.

In his speech, Obama laid out out the importance of secret surveillance action in protecting civilians from foreign military threat. He started by ticking off the U.S.'s long history of using military intelligence to defend the country, referencing Paul Revere and 'The Sons of Liberty' in the Revolutionary War to code-breaking during World War II that allowed the American military to intercept Japanese war plans.

But the President also acknowledged the importance of protecting the civil liberties of individuals, particularly in an increasingly digitally-connected world where hackers have more opportunities than ever. "There is a reason why BlackBerrys and i-Phones are not allowed in the White House Situation Room," he said.

Related: Uh, Did Your Refrigerator Just Send Me an Internet Virus?

In addition to announcing changes to data collection, Obama revealed several other national security strategy changes today in a presidential policy directive. For example, once a year, a panel of advocates with a broad spectrum of policy agendas will sit down and review current surveillance policies. Also, the policy directive clarifies what communications between U.S. and foreign nations will be examined by national securities officials. And the State Department will include a new position specifically designated to developing diplomatic policy surrounding technology and privacy.

Obama said that because of the pace of technological developments, the discussion of how best to protect individual privacy while also protecting U.S. civilians from foreign terrorist threats will need to happen regularly in the future. "When you cut through the noise, what's really at stake is how we remain true to who we are in a world that is remaking itself at dizzying speed," said Obama today. "One thing I'm certain of: This debate will make us stronger."

Related: Your Password Is 123456? Wow. Seriously?

Catherine Clifford

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business News

I Designed My Dream Home For Free With an AI Architect — Here's How It Works

The AI architect, Vitruvius, created three designs in minutes, complete with floor plans and pictures of the inside and outside of the house.

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business News

This Fan-Favorite Masters 2024 Item Is Still $1.50 as Tournament Menu Appears Unscathed by Inflation

The pimento cheese sandwich is a tradition almost as big as the tournament itself.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Making a Change

Learn to Play Guitar Even if You Have No Previous Training for Just $20

Start with the beginner's crash course and learn how to play guitar in no time.

Marketing

Save Big and Get This Pro Collage App for $39.99

Edit, adjust, and create collages in seconds.