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US looks at ways to prevent spying on its spying

Stocks in this article: FBGOOGLNKDMSFT

a¿¿When the New York Times published a censored U.S. document on the smartphone surveillance program, computer experts said they were able to extract what appeared to be the name of an NSA employee, a Middle Eastern terror group the program was targeting and details about the types of computer files the NSA found useful. Since Snowden began leaking documents in June, his supporters have maintained they have been careful not to disclose any agent's identity or operational details that would compromise ongoing surveillance. The employee did not return phone or email messages from the AP. A DNI spokesman said they asked the Times to redact, or black out, the material. A Times spokeswoman blamed a "production error" and said the section was redacted.

a¿¿NBC News reported that British cyber spies demonstrated a pilot program to their U.S. partners in 2012 in which they were able to monitor YouTube in real time and collect addresses from the billions of videos watched daily, as well as some user information, for analysis. At the time the documents were printed, they were also able to spy on Facebook and Twitter. The network said the monitoring program was called "Squeaky Dolphin."

Under pressure, the administration has provided only vague descriptions about changes it is considering to the NSA's daily collection and storage of Americans' phone records, which are presently kept in NSA databanks. To resolve legal, privacy and civil liberties concerns, President Barack Obama this month ordered the attorney general and senior intelligence officials to recommend changes by March 28 that would allow the U.S. to identify suspected terrorists' phone calls without the government holding the phone records itself.

One federal review panel urged Obama to order phone companies or an unspecified third party to store the records; another panel said collecting the phone records was illegal and ineffective and urged Obama to abandon the program entirely.

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