A key technology for the U.S. National Security Agency’s eavesdropping program will be approved for use by the U,S.
Senate by Thursday, a committee that oversees the agency said Wednesday.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is set to vote on a bill that would allow the National Security Intelligence Community (NSA) to use a new generation of technology called STARKEY to intercept Internet communications and track and store them for up to two years, according to a summary of the legislation released by the committee.
The technology, developed by the NSA and commercial vendors, is designed to provide “better protection to our nation’s communications than current systems” because it uses digital signals to “detect, track, and intercept signals,” according to the summary.
The new technology is part of a wide-ranging effort to address privacy concerns that arose when the Obama administration began to use the spy agency’s broad surveillance powers.
Under the legislation, STARKEY can intercept and store all Internet communications, including email, instant messaging, text messages, instant video and audio, and the internet protocol address (IP) for all sites on the internet, the committee said in a summary.
The legislation allows the NSA to use STARKEY “in conjunction with existing technologies that have been approved by the Department of Justice.”
The new legislation also gives the NSA authority to use metadata from the intercepted communications in its investigations of national security threats.
The legislation also establishes “a new national security exception for STARKEY,” which is designed for “anyone whose communications are not subject to court-approved wiretapping orders or wiretapping requests.”
In a written statement, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the committee “has approved the use of STARKEY by the National Intelligence Program to monitor, intercept, and store data.”
The Office of Intelligence and Analysis at the NSA said in the statement that the agency’s use of the technology “remains a high priority for our nation.”