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Category Archives: Patriot Act

The executive order that led to mass spying, as told by NSA alumni

Cyrus Farivar - Ars Technica: [Executive Order] 12333 is used to target foreigners abroad, and collection happens outside the US,” whistleblower John Tye, a former State Department official, told Ars recently. “My complaint is not that they’re using it to target Americans, my complaint is that the volume of incidental collection on US persons is unconstitutional.” The document, known in government circles as “twelve triple three,” gives incredible leeway to intelligence agencies sweeping up vast quantities of Americans’ data. That data ranges from e-mail content to Facebook messages, from Skype chats to practically anything that passes over the Internet on an incidental basis. In other words, EO 12333 protects the tangential collection of Americans’ data even when Americans aren’t specifically targeted—otherwise it would be forbidden under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978. In a May 2014 interview with NBC, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden said that he specifically asked his colleagues at the NSA whether an executive order could override existing statutes. (They said it could not.) Snowden’s lawyer, Jesselyn Radack, told Ars that her client was specifically “referring to EO 12333.”

 

Investigative Report – NSA created ‘google-like search’ engine – shared access with other agencies

“Data available through ICREACH appears to be primarily derived from surveillance of foreigners’ communications, and planning documents show that it draws on a variety of different sources of data maintained by the NSA. Though one 2010 internal paper clearly calls it “the ICREACH database,” a U.S. official familiar with the system disputed that, telling The Intercept that while “itContinue Reading

Newly Declassified Documents Regarding Now-Discontinued NSA Bulk Electronic Communications Metadata

ODNI: “Following a declassification review by the Executive Branch, the Department of Justice released on August 6, 2014, in redacted form, 38 documents relating to the now-discontinued NSA program [scroll down the page to locate the links] to collect bulk electronic communications metadata pursuant to Section 402 of the FISA (“PRTT provision”).  These documents are also responsiveContinue Reading

Extensive interview of Edward Snowden – Wired

James Bamford, via Wired: “..Snowden will continue to haunt the US, the unpredictable impact of his actions resonating at home and around the world. The documents themselves, however, are out of his control. Snowden no longer has access to them; he says he didn’t bring them with him to Russia. Copies are now in the handsContinue Reading

NSA’s Internet Metadata Program Was Sharply Criticized By FISA Judges – EPIC

“Documents Obtained by EPIC Lawsuit Show NSA’s Internet Metadata Program Was Sharply Criticized By FISA Judges While Congressional Oversight Lagged for Year: In a FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Justice, EPIC has obtained many documents about the NSA’s Internet Metadata program. These include the Government’s original FISA application seeking authorization to collect data from millions of e-mails, as wellContinue Reading

Barack Obama’s Secret Terrorist-Tracking System, by the Numbers

Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux - The Intercept “Nearly half of the people on the U.S. government’s widely shared database of terrorist suspects are not connected to any known terrorist group, according to classified government documents obtained by The Intercept. Of the 680,000 people caught up in the government’s Terrorist Screening Database—a watchlist of “known or suspected terrorists” that is shared withContinue Reading

EPIC Sues FBI for Missing Privacy Reports

“EPIC has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to obtain details about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s surveillance programs. The agency is required to conduct privacy impact assessments when it collects and uses personal data. However, the Bureau has failed to publicly release privacy impact assessments for many of its programs, including facial recognition, drones, and license plateContinue Reading

CIA IG Report Confirms Searches of Senate Computers

Feinstein Statement on CIA IG Report, Washington -  Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) released the following statement: “I was briefed Tuesday by CIA Inspector General David Buckley on the results of an IG investigation [summary only available at this time]. The investigation confirmed what I said on the Senate floor in March – CIA personnel inappropriatelyContinue Reading

Federal and State Wiretaps Up 5% in 2013 According to Annual Report

EPIC: “The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has issued the 2013 Wiretap Report, detailing the use of surveillance authorities by law enforcement agencies. This annual report, one of the most comprehensive issued by any agency, provides an insight into the debate over surveillance authorities and the use of privacy-enhancing technologies. In 2013, wiretap applications increasedContinue Reading

Surveillance Costs: The NSA’s Impact on the Economy, Internet Freedom & Cybersecurity

New America Foundation – “It has been over a year since The Guardian reported the first story on the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs based on the leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, yet the national conversation remains largely mired in a simplistic debate over the tradeoffs between national security and individual privacy. It is timeContinue Reading

How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law and American Democracy

With Liberty to Monitor All - How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law, and American Democracy. Human Rights Watch / ACLU, July 2014. “The United States government today is implementing a wide variety of surveillance  programs that, thanks to developments in its technological capacity, allow it to scoop up  personal information and the content ofContinue Reading

Deeper Dive into EFF’s Motion on Backbone Surveillance

News release: “Yesterday we filed a motion for partial summary judgment in our long running Jewel v. NSA case, focusing on the government’s admitted seizure and search of communications from the Internet backbone, also called “upstream.” We’ve asked the judge to rule that there are two ways in which this is unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment: The admitted seizure of communications from theContinue Reading