Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: Patriot Act

Public Advocate Appointed by FISA Court Declares PRISM Surveillance Unconstitutional

TechDirt: “On [April 19, 2016], the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released some redacted versions of three previously secret FISA Court rulings. There are a few interesting things in them, but one notable point, found in a ruling from last November regarding the NSA’s 702 PRISM program, is that the FISC took advantage of the provision in the USA Freedom Act to appoint a public advocate to argue on behalf of the public. One of the big complaints in the past, is that the FISA Court is no court at all. Only one side — the government — gets to present its case, and then the judges decide.  The USA Freedom Act, however, added the ability of the FISC [United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] to appoint a public advocate. Many have been quite reasonably skeptical about this — in terms of how often it would be used, who would be appointed and how seriously the FISC would take the public advocate. In this case, we see that the public advocate did, in fact, argue that parts of the PRISM program were unconstitutional… and the FISC then rejected that. In this case, the court appointed Amy Jeffress, a former federal prosecutor and DOJ official — which might make some skeptical of her willingness to actually advocate for the public — however, this ruling shows that she did, in fact argue that the program was unconstitutional (her actual arguments have not been released).”

EFF Sues for Secret Court Orders Requiring Tech Companies to Decrypt Users’ Communications

Via EFF: “The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit today against the Justice Department to shed light on whether the government has ever used secret court orders to force technology companies to decrypt their customers’ private communications, a practice that could undermine the safety and security of devices used byContinue Reading

NPR reports on DOJ motion to compel Apple to unlock iPhone

Alina Selyukh writes: “The Department of Justice has filed a motion to compel Apple to cooperate with a government investigation and help access data on an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino assailants. The motion filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California (read it in full below) laysContinue Reading

After Google Spain and Charlie Hebdo: The Continuing Evolution of European Union Data Privacy Law in a Time of Change

Voss, W. Gregory, After Google Spain and Charlie Hebdo: The Continuing Evolution of European Union Data Privacy Law in a Time of Change (January 6, 2016). Business Lawyer, Vol. 71, No. 1, 2015/2016. Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2711996 “This article investigates various developments over that year that helped (or are helping) reshape European UnionContinue Reading

NSA Civil Liberties and Privacy Office Report to Congress

NSA – Transparency Report – The USA FREEDOM Act Business Records and FISA Implementation – January 16, 2016 “The National Security Agency’s Civil Liberties and Privacy Office (CLPO) conducted a civil liberties and privacy impact assessment examining how the National Security Agency (NSA) is implementing the changes effected by the USA FREEDOM Act to theContinue Reading

Intercept – A secret catalogue of government gear for spying on your cellphone

“The Intercept has obtained a secret, internal U.S. government catalogue of dozens of cellphone surveillance devices used by the military and by intelligence agencies. The document, thick with previously undisclosed information, also offers rare insight into the spying capabilities of federal law enforcement and local police inside the United States. The catalogue includes details on the Stingray,Continue Reading

Details of NSA use of NSL to obtain ISP data released

ArsTechnica – “For the first time, as part of a First Amendment lawsuit, a federal judge ordered the release of what the FBI was seeking from a small ISP as part of an NSL. Among other things, the FBI was demanding a target’s complete Web browsing history, IP addresses of everyone a person has correspondedContinue Reading

Federal Court Lifts Gag Order on National Security Letter Recipient

EPIC – “For the first time, a federal court has lifted a national security letter gag order, allowing an Internet Service Provider to publish the FBI’s demands for records of user web browsing history, IP addresses, online purchases, and location information. The FBI issues thousands of NSLs each year, forcing companies to disclose troves ofContinue Reading

Adblock Browser, Do Not Track and Acceptable Ads

“Adblock Plus has launched the Adblock Browser, and we’re excited to announce that DuckDuckGo is the default search engine in Adblock Browser on iOS and Android! We’ve been working with the EFF to promote a new “Do Not Track” (DNT) standard for web browsing. We hope this new DNT policy will better protect people fromContinue 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

EFF Provides Evidence to Courts on Telecoms Collection of Metadata

“This week EFF presented evidence in two of its NSA cases confirming the participation of Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T in the NSA’s mass telephone records collection under the Patriot Act.  This is important because, despite broad public acknowledgement, the government is still claiming that it can dismiss our cases because it has never confirmedContinue Reading

Strategic Five-Year Technology Investment Plan for Aviation Security 2015 Report to Congress

Via FedBizOpps: “The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Office of Security Capabilities is presenting the Strategic Five-Year Technology Investment Plan. The Plan was prepared pursuant to a requirement in Section 1611 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-296), as amended by Section 3 of the Transportation Security Acquisition Reform Act (P.L. 113-245). It presentsContinue Reading