Today NSA released to the public its second civil liberties and privacy report. The document focuses on the civil liberties and privacy protection practices of NSA in the course of targeted signals intelligence activities under Executive Order 12333. Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs), the widely accepted framework of defining principles used by federal agencies to evaluate how systems, processes, or programs impact individual privacy, were used as the basis for assesssment.
The report details numerous efforts designed to protect civil liberties and privacy protections in six of the eight FIPPs (Purpose Specification; Data Minimization; Use Limitation; Data Quality and Integrity; Security; and Accountability and Auditing). These protections are underpinned by NSA's enterprise activities, documented compliance program, and investments in people, training, tools and technology.
Because NSA has a national security mission, protections in the remaining FIPPs, Transparency and Individual Participation, are not implemented in the same manner as they are by organizations with a more public-facing mission. NSA cannot offer direct Transparency because that would alert foreign intelligence targets that they are under surveillance. NSA can offer Individual Participation, i.e., knowledge of, and ability to, contest collection against the individual, only in limited instances for the same reason. In many cases, NSA overseers provide surrogate means of protecting privacy and civil liberties in these two principles. NSA is interested in exploring ideas with those in government, the public and expert groups on how to strengthen these protections.
The report also provides an overview of the signals intelligence lifecycle (Acquire, Analyze, Retain and Disseminate), and describes existing civil liberties and privacy protections that are built into each step. Agency-wide policies, directives, procedures, training, and education activities also help protect the civil liberties and privacy of individuals. Finally, all employees have responsibilities for protecting and upholding laws and policies.
More information about the National Security Agency is at NSA.gov.