A Syracuse University counter-terrorism expert says the changes to federal surveillance powers will result in needed oversight and transparency of the government’s activity. In six months, the national security agency will no longer be able to collect bulk data from all domestic phone records. Instead, the NSA will have to request the information on a case-by-case basis from the phone companies by obtaining a court order. William Banks directs SU's Institute for National Security and Counter Terrorism, and says the additional oversight is welcome.
Banks says the balance between security and liberty is an elusive one, which can make it hard to cut back or justify the programs. He says part of the problem is no one really knows how effective the phone record surveillance program has been.