The National Security Agency's authority to collect bulk phone data has expired, and two experts disagreed Monday on whether intelligence officials need that power to thwart terror plots.
Over the weekend, the NSA lost the legal approval to store phone records in one of the biggest changes to American intelligence since Edward Snowden revealed details about U.S. tactics two years ago. While some officials have called to reauthorize mass phone data collection, its effectiveness does not justify possible violations of civil rights, said David Chronister, founder of Parameter Security.
"We really haven't seen where it's been effective ... the amount of money we're spending and the amount of civil liberties that are being violated just isn't worth it," he said on CNBC's "Closing Bell."
Under the USA Freedom Act — which was passed this summer — the NSA must ask phone companies for data, but can still collect bulk communications from the Internet and social media platforms. But the deadly terror attacks in Paris earlier this month raise questions about how much power the NSA should have to identify and stop threats.
Ultimately, intelligence agencies are tasked with preventing attacks and keeping citizens safe, said Joe Loomis, CEO of cybersecurity firm CyberSponse. Reducing data collection methods could hinder those efforts, he contended.
"I think we're going to take that for granted by asking for it to go away," he said on "Closing Bell."
A civil liberties review board appointed by the White House previously found little evidence that mass collection of phone data helped terrorism investigations.