Am I breaking the spirit of the forum if I express my views both here an on Slashdot? Here was my opinion on this legislation at Slashdot: First the Stick, THEN the carrot
I believe that this legislation is well intended, but probably ineffective. The NSA has shown themselves a master in creative interpretation of law. Any new law will be twisted to their purposes. Then there will be years of appeals in the courts.
Congress has other, more effective tools at their disposal. Before they attempt new laws, they should immediately reassert Congress's most basic and irresistible power: The power to control the purse.
Congress's first act must be to slash the NSA's budget in half.
It is like working with a mule. First, you have to get their attention. As they slash their budget, they should explain that many of the NSA's actions have been dishonest. The NSA has created long term problems for the rest of the country. And the NSA has been spending it's budget in ways that Congress does not approve.
After Congress slashes the NSA's budget, it should then ask the NSA to give the complete Congress a full accounting of how they intend to spend their remaining budget. Give them a week.
If the NSA waffles, or insists on secrecy, or presents an incomplete accounting, then Congress should cut their remaining budget in half.
At no point should we worry about the NSA. It has tens of billions of budget. You can cut their budget in half several times and they will still be able to support their best analysts. Their hardware is cheaper and more powerful than ever before. Even after the cuts, they will be as effective as any time in the past few decades. But, the cuts will remove the NSA's ability to dominate entire industries. And they will not be able to use that support to justify their illegal and unethical acts. And that is a good thing.
Above all, Congress should not be deterred by the Executive branch. Controlling budget is Congress's natural, constitutionally mandated role. Congress has been shirking their duties lately. The Black Budget has been a shameful abrogation of it's responsibilities. Controlling the budget of the executive branch is Congress's job.
It may take several rounds of budget cuts, but eventually the NSA will come back in line. Then we can use law to guide them.