Defining the Line

Finding a surveillance consensus post-Edward Snowden will require looking at transparency, oversight, and overall scope of data collection, said Chan Park, general counsel for the Senate judiciary committee. Speaking on a panel at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 5, Park said when considering changes to intelligence gathering policies, specifically Section 215 of the Patriot Act which concerns collection of telephone metadata, “we have to talk about what risks” individuals are willing to take with the absence of a certain scope of intelligence data and “where is that line” in scope of collection. It’s not just in terms of the bulk of phone records collections now, but what it means “for surveillance into the future” as technology continues to develop and a greater digital footprint is left behind, he asked. Park added that the current administration has not “adequately justified the futility of Section 215 … to justify the collection involved.” Going forward, there needs to be a very “deliberate, careful, thoughtful process” that addresses concerns of policy but also costs—not just to the intelligence community but to the privacy of Americans, he said.