“Since 2008, the National Security Agency (NSA) and other members of the U.S. Intelligence Community have relied on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to conduct surveillance on specific foreign targets located outside the United States to acquire critical intelligence on issues ranging from international terrorism to cybersecurity.” reads the NSA’s statement.”After a comprehensive review of mission needs, current technological constraints, United States person privacy interests, and certain difficulties in implementation, NSA has decided to stop some of its activities conducted under Section 702.”
In the past NSA cyber spies were flagging any communication where a foreign Surveillance target was mentioned, even when the target wasn’t involved in the conversation.
The NSA reform will involve upstream surveillance collection and not other surveillance activities such as the PRISM program.
“After considerable evaluation of the program and available technology, NSA has decided that its Section 702 foreign intelligence surveillance activities will no longer include any upstream internet communications that are solely “about” a foreign intelligence target.” continue the statement.”Instead, this surveillance will now be limited to only those communications that are directly “to” or “from” a foreign intelligence target. These changes are designed to retain the upstream collection that provides the greatest value to national security while reducing the likelihood that NSA will acquire communications of U.S. persons or others who are not in direct contact with one of the Agency’s foreign intelligence targets.”
Edward Snowden defined this reforms the most substantive of the post-2013 NSA reforms.