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Category Archives: Freedom of Information

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…”

Brookings Project Paper – The ISIS Twitter Census

The Brookings Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World – An Analysis Paper | No. 20, March 2015. The ISIS Twitter Census – Defining and describing the population of ISIS supporters on Twitter. J.M. Berger and Jonathon Morgan. “The Islamic State, known as ISIS or ISIL, has exploited social media, most notoriously Twitter, toContinue Reading

Happy Thanksgiving and Please Consider Supporting beSpacific

Happy Thanksgving! If you read beSpacific and my research is useful to you, please support this site by donating the cost of a cup of coffee – $4 – or any another amount, such $10, $15, $20…using the link on selected postings Please consider making a contribution to beSpacific, even if you can only buyContinue Reading

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

Open Access Meets Discoverability: Citations to Articles Posted to

Josh Schwartzman, Max Shron – Open Access Meets Discoverability: Citations to Articles Posted to “Using matching and regression analyses, we measure the difference in citations between articles posted to and other articles from similar journals, controlling for field, impact factor, and other variables. Based on a sample size of 34,940 papers, we find thatContinue 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

USDA cancels webinars on neonicotinoids and pesticide risks

News release: “Web-based training sessions about powerful new insecticides seeping into some of the continent’s most sensitive wetlands were cancelled by a senior U.S. Department of Agriculture official due to its subject matter, according to documents posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). PEER is characterizing the cancellation as another example of USDAContinue 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

Able Archer Sourcebook Declassified Pages on 1983 War Scare

“Thirty-two years ago, a NATO nuclear release exercise named Able Archer 83 “may have inadvertently placed our relations with the Soviet Union on a hair trigger,” according to an above-Top Secret President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board report released last month to the National Security Archive after a twelve-year fight.  The release sparked extensive media coverageContinue Reading

White House Open Government Partnership Plan

The Open Government Partnership – Third Open Government National Action Plan for the United States. October 27, 2015 “Open government has long been a cornerstone of democracy in the United States. Principles of transparency and an accountable, responsive government are embedded in Federal law and the U.S. Constitution, and the United States was one ofContinue 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