Secrets, along with who collects them and who they are about, have been part of the national discourse on several occasions throughout their history. The most recent flare-up has occurred over the last several months as revelations about various National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs have been leaked to media outlets around the world. Headlines have abounded throughout the summer and fall, with most of the focus being on two NSA programs. The first is the collection of telephone data records from US telephone customers. The second is a program called PRISM, which collects data from Internet communications, including, in some cases, the contents of the communications themselves. In response, in 1978 Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which attempted to provide additional restrictions on and oversight of surveillance activities of foreign powers and agents of foreign powers while seeking foreign intelligence information.
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