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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Photo: Mark Kurtz
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Photo: Mark Kurtz

In face of NSA scandal, Gillibrand looks to balance privacy, security

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New York leaders in Washington want more information about the growth in domestic spying.

It was revealed last week that the National Security Agency collects phone data and private emails directly from the servers of major Internet companies such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Yahoo.

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Reported by

Julie Grant
Reporter and Producer

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Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says New Yorkers know as well as anybody the need to ensure the nation's security. But she says Americans also have a certain expectation of privacy.

"In New York, we have suffered greatly since 9/11, in fact we've 15 terror attempts since 9/11, so finding that balance is very important to us."

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney represents the 18th district, south of Albany. He says he doesn't like what he's hearing about the NSA's use of the PRISM surveillance system.

"We should all be concerned about the balance between privacy and security. We need to remember what we're fighting for. And before we sacrifice our freedoms and our privacy, we need to make sure we are doing it within our constitution and our laws."

Maloney says the government has the power to invade Americans privacy in a way that was never possible in the past.

"The technology has become so powerful, and the capacity to search huge amounts of data so vast. And all of us have all of our personal information, all of our private information, all of movements, all of our finances, all of our purchasing decision, all of this is now stored somewhere on some server, and who has access to that, who can get to it for what reason, this is a subject we really need to get on top of."

Senator Gillibrand isn't sure exactly how the NSA has been using its surveillance capabilities. She's asking for full briefing on the PRISM program.

"Our civil liberties are vital, so it's important to protect them. So, you have to find the balance, and what I intend to do is look at the program very seriously to assess if that balance is still being reached."

President Obama and Senate Intelligence leaders say they are open to a public discussion or hearings about the increase in domestic spying.

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