The United States issued new rules Tuesday limiting spying on foreign citizens as the Obama administration seeks to address concerns over the National Security Agency’s mass collection of internet and telephone data.
Intelligence officials must delete information about foreign nationals after five years unless it has relevant intelligence or national security value, the Director of the Office of National Intelligence said in a report.
The report outlines progress made in reforms put forward by President Barack Obama last year, after fugitive security contractor Edward Snowden revealed widespread surveillance of internet and telephone records as well as US spying on allies.
The White House pointed to “substantial progress” in instituting reforms.
“Our signals intelligence activities must take into account that all persons have legitimate privacy interests in the handling of their personal information,” said Lisa Monaco, who advises Obama on counterterrorism issues.
She stressed that the US government must balance privacy concerns with national security and foreign policy interests.
“As we continue to face threats from terrorism, proliferation and cyber-attacks, we must use our intelligence capabilities in a way that optimally protects our national security and supports our foreign policy while keeping the public trust and respecting privacy and civil liberties,” she said.