Obama did not choose to end the controversial metadata collection program outright -- as his own review panel suggested -- but rather to employ a few safeguards to prevent data that was not part of a terrorist investigation from being accessed, like spying on loved ones.
The metadata is still being collected, but the NSA will have to go before a judge and present evidence that "there is a reasonable, articulable suspicion that the selection term is associated with an approved international terrorist organization" before querying it. Also, phone calls have to be two steps removed from a suspected terrorist rather than three.
It may not be the progress many privacy advocates (and, again, Obama's own panel) hoped for, but it's something.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.