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Category Archives: Free Speech

ODNI Announces Transition to New Telephone Metadata Program

News release: “Beginning Sunday, November 29, the government is prohibited from collecting telephone metadata records in bulk under Section 215, including of both U.S. and non-U.S. persons. And, while under the prior program NSA collected metadata in bulk and sought court approval for individual queries, the USA FREEDOM Act requires that the government must now base any application for telephone metadata records under FISA on a “specific selection term”—a term that specifically identifies a person, account, address, or personal device in a way that limits the scope of information sought to the greatest extent reasonably practicable. This further ensures that collection of information for intelligence purposes is appropriately focused and targeted, and is limited to information that telephone service providers have historically used for their internal billing and operational needs. Moreover, under the Act, the Government will report annually to Congress and to the public, among other things, the total number or orders issued under this authority and the number of targets of such orders. As previously stated, NSA analytic access to the historical metadata collected under Section 215 has ceased. However, NSA has requested limited access to historical Section 215 metadata until February 29, 2016, limited to technical personnel and solely for the purpose of verifying that the new targeted production mechanism authorized by the USA FREEDOM Act is working as intended. The FISC is currently considering this request…”

Global Support for Principle of Free Expression, but Opposition to Some Forms of Speech

Pew – “Although many observers have documented a global decline in democratic rights in recent years, people around the world nonetheless embrace fundamental democratic values, including free expression. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that majorities in nearly all 38 nations polled say it is at least somewhat important to live in a countryContinue Reading Tracks Content Takedowns by Social Media Sites

“The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Visualizing Impact launched today, a new platform to document the who, what, and why of content takedowns on social media sites. The project, made possible by a 2014 Knight News Challenge award, will address how social media sites moderate user-generated content and how free expression is affected acrossContinue Reading

Cell Phone Location Tracking Laws By State

ACLU: “Location records can reveal an enormous of information about a person, especially with the proliferation of smartphones that constantly track our whereabouts. Because privacy laws haven’t kept up with advances in technology, police have long claimed the authority to access this information from cell phone companies without warrants. That’s changing. While Congress and theContinue Reading

Ranking Digital Rights Spotlights Corporate Practices Around Privacy, Freedom of Expression

“Many of the world’s most powerful Internet and telecommunications companies are not doing enough to respect basic user rights, according to new research released today. Even the companies that ranked highest are missing the mark in some ways, and improvements are needed across the board to demonstrate a greater commitment to users’ freedom of expressionContinue Reading

New Internet Monitor report: “Beyond the Wall: Mapping Twitter in China”

“Internet Monitor is delighted to announce the publication of “Beyond the Wall: Mapping Twitter in China,” the seventh in a series of special reports that focus on key events and new developments in Internet freedom. The report, authored by Sonya Yan Song, Robert Faris, and John Kelly, maps and analyzes the structure and content foundContinue Reading

ODNI – The Principles of Intelligence Transparency

The Principles of Intelligence Transparency Implementation Plan, October 27, 2015. “The Principles of Intelligence Transparency – In February 2015, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) published the Principles of Intelligence Transparency for the Intelligence Community (Principles). These Principles are intended to facilitate Intelligence Community (IC) decisions on making information publicly available in a manner thatContinue Reading

CRS Policy on Confidentiality

Follow up to 22 Former CRS Employees Support Free Public Access to CRS reports this new memorandum via FAS – CRS Policy on Confidentiality: “The purpose of this policy is to ensure that all Congressional Research Service (CRS or Service) employees recognize the long-standing requirement for preserving the confidentiality of our work for Congress andContinue Reading

Paper – Dawn of the Selfie Era

Dawn of the Selfie Era: The Whos, Wheres, and Hows of Selfies on Instagram. Flávio Souza, Diego de Las Casas, Vinícius Flores, SunBum Youn, Meeyoung Cha, Daniele Quercia, Virgílio Almeida, October 19, 2015. “Online interactions are increasingly involving images, especially those containing human faces, which are naturally attention grabbing and more effective at conveying feelingsContinue Reading

Federal Court Invalidates 11-Year-old FBI gag order on National Security Letter recipient Nicholas Merrill

Calyx Institute: “A federal district court has ordered the FBI to lift an eleven-year- old gag order imposed on Nicholas Merrill [document is redacted] forbidding him from speaking about a National Security Letter (“NSL”) that the FBI served on him in 2004. The ruling marks the first time that an NSL gag order has beenContinue Reading

CRS – National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations

National Security Letters in Foreign Intelligence Investigations: A Glimpse at the Legal Background, Charles Doyle, Senior Specialist in American Public Law. July 31, 2015. “Five federal statutes authorize intelligence officials to request certain business record information in connection with national security investigations. The authority to issue these national security letters (NSLs) is comparable to theContinue Reading

DOJ Seeks to Expand Ability to Hack Computers of Suspects

arstechnica – Feds want an expanded ability to hack criminal suspects’ computers – Proposed rules to let one judge authorize “remote access” essentially anywhere. “The United States Department of Justice wants to broaden its ability to hack criminal suspects’ computers, according to a new legal proposal that was first published by The Wall Street Journal onContinue Reading