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Daily Archives: June 8, 2013

EFF – Gov’t Says Secret Court Opinion on Law Underlying PRISM Program Needs to Stay Secret

News release: “In a rare public filing in the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the Justice Department today urged continued secrecy for a 2011 FISC opinion that found the National Security Agency’s surveillance under the FISA Amendments Act to be unconstitutional.  Significantly, the surveillance at issue was carried out under the same controversial legal authority that underlies the NSA’s recently-revealed PRISM program.

EFF filed a suit under the Freedom of Information Act in August 2012, seeking disclosure of the FISC ruling.  Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall revealed the existence of the opinion, which found that collection activities under FISA Section 702  “circumvented the spirit of the law” and violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. But, at the time, the Senators were not permitted to discuss the details publicly. Section 702 has taken on new importance this week, as it appears to form the basis for the extensive PRISM surveillance program reported recently in the Guardian and the Washington Post.

The government has seeked to block EFF’s FOIA suit by arguing that only the FISC, itself, can release the opinion.  In an effort to remove that roadblock, EFF filed a motion with the FISC on April 22 seeking the surveillance court’s consent to disclosure, should the document be found to be otherwise subject to release under FOIA.  In its response filed with the FISC today, the government offers a circular argument, asserting that only the Executive Branch can de-classify the opinion, but that it is somehow prohibited by the FISC rules from doing so…”

World Bank Annual Report 2012

“This Annual Report, which covers the period from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, has been prepared by the Executive Directors of both the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA)—collectively known as the World Bank—in accordance with the respective bylaws of the two institutions.”

New York Times on the Government Data Surveillance Program

New York Times on-going reporting: Obama Calls Surveillance Programs Legal and Limited (June 8, 2013) In U.S., News of Surveillance Effort Is Met With Some Concern but Little Surprise (June 8, 2013) Administration Says Mining of Data Is Crucial to Fight Terror (June 8, 2013) News of U.S. Surveillance Draws Anger of Activists and MilitantsContinue Reading

LSE Cities launches new interactive website to show how financial crisis has affected European cities

“London School of Economics and Political Science Cities (LSE Cities) has launched a new free online resource, supported by the Higher Education Innovation Fund, which shows the impact of economic recession and recovery in over 150 of Europe’s largest metropolitan areas. Drawing on forecasting data previously unavailable to the public, the European Metromonitor features anContinue Reading

The London Finance Commission’s Report

“The London Finance Commission, chaired by London School of Economic’s Professor Tony Travers, has released a new report calling for greater financial freedoms for the capital, giving London government the autonomy to invest in its own vital infrastructure as its population and economy grow, and bring London in line with competitor global cities. The LondonContinue Reading

June 8 is World Oceans Day

“On World Oceans Day people around the planet celebrate and honor the body of water which links us all, for what it provides humans and what it represents. Be a part of this growing global celebration! Thanks to The Ocean Project and The World Ocean Network for helping to promote and coordinate this event sinceContinue Reading

GitHub for Academics: the open-source way to host, create and curate knowledge

“Though originally developed as a way to share and merge software code, any types of files can be part of a GitHub repository, making it a great collaborative tool for academics, finds Kris Shaffer. Since any open-licensed project can be hosted on GitHub for free, it can function as a publishing platform, a peer-review system, a learning management tool, andContinue Reading