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Category Archives: Patriot Act

Secret court authorizes continued telephone metadata collection

The Guardian UK: “After a decade in the shadows, a secretive surveillance court that authorises the bulk collection of American telephone records seized on its last chance to show off a little personality on Tuesday [June 30, 2015]. “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, well, at least for 180 days,” wrote judge Michael Mosman in an unusually colourful, and public, ruling that granted an extension to the programme one last time. Congress banned the bulk collection of telephone metadata – first revealed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden in the Guardian in 2013 – by passing sweeping NSA reforms in the USA Freedom Act earlier this month. But the legislation also proposed a six-month transition period while the NSA moves to a new system that relies on asking telephone companies for specific records rather than maintaining a central government database.”

DOJ Prevailed Over Google on Email Privacy Case

Ryan Gallagher – The Intercept: “The Obama administration fought a legal battle against Google to secretly obtain the email records of a security researcher and journalist associated with WikiLeaks. Newly unsealed court documents obtained by The Intercept reveal the Justice Department won an order forcing Google to turn over more than one year’s worth of data from the GmailContinue Reading

USA FREEDOM Act Reinstates Expired USA PATRIOT Act Provisions

CRS Legal Sidebar USA FREEDOM Act Reinstates Expired USA PATRIOT Act Provisions but Limits Bulk Collection 6/4/2015: “Following a contentious debate and passagein the Senate, the USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 2048) was signed into law onJune 2, 2015. The new law contains eight titles, spanning a range of national security topics from reauthorizing expired investigativeContinue Reading

Overview of Constitutional Challenges to NSA Collection Activities

CRS – Overview of Constitutional Challenges to NSA Collection Activities, Edward C. Liu, Legislative Attorney; Andrew Nolan, Legislative Attorney, Richard M. Thompson II, Legislative Attorney. May 21, 2015. “Beginning in summer 2013, media reports of foreign intelligence activities conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA) have been widely published. The reports have focused on twoContinue Reading

Justice Department Releases Drone Privacy Guidance

EPIC – “The Justice Department has released extensive “Policy Guidance” for the use of drones by federal agencies. The Guidance bans the use of drones to monitor activities protected by the First Amendment, requires routine logs of drone use, and requires the protection of civil liberties and privacy in all cases. However, the Guidance “doesContinue Reading

US DOJ IG Report – Review of the FBI’s Use of Section 215 Orders

FBI’s Use of Section 215 Orders: Assessment of Progress in Implementing Recommendations and Examination of Use in 2007 through 2009, Oversight and Review Division Report 15-05. May 2015. Redacted. “The Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced today the release of a public version of its most recent report examining theContinue Reading

Inspector General Warns: Significant Oversight of Section 215 Required

EPIC – “The DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General released a report this month detailing the FBI’s use of Section 215 and warning that “significant oversight” is required. The Inspector General describes the FBI’s expanding use of 215 to collect electronic information in bulk and criticized the agency for taking seven years to develop minimizationContinue Reading

Americans’ Attitudes About Privacy, Security and Surveillance

“Two new Pew Research Center surveys explore [the issues of privacy and surveillance] and place them in the wider context of the tracking and profiling that occurs in commercial arenas. The surveys find that Americans feel privacy is important in their daily lives in a number of essential ways. Yet, they have a pervasive sense thatContinue Reading

Tech giants communicate opposition to decrypted data for law enforcement

Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima: “Tech behemoths including Apple and Google and leading cryptologists are urging President Obama to reject any government proposal that alters the security of smartphones and other communications devices so that law enforcement can view decrypted data. In a letter to be sent Tuesday and obtained by The Washington Post, a coalitionContinue Reading

UK government rewrites law to permit GCHQ hacking

Privacy International – May 15, 2015: The Government has quietly ushered through legislation amending the anti-hacking laws to exempt GCHQ from prosecution. Privacy International and other parties were notified of this just hours prior to a hearing of their claim against GCHQ’s illegal hacking operations in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. In its legal filings, sentContinue Reading

Guardian – How we sold our souls – and more – to the internet giants

Bruce Schneier – Adapted from Data and Goliath by Bruce Schneier, published by Norton Book  – Last year, when my refrigerator broke, the repair man replaced the computer that controls it. I realised that I had been thinking about the refrigerator backwards: it’s not a refrigerator with a computer, it’s a computer that keeps foodContinue Reading

EFF Case Analysis: Appeals Court Rules NSA Phone Records Dragnet is Illegal

Andrew Crocker – “We now have the first decision from a court of appeals on the NSA’s mass surveillance program involving bulk collection of telephone records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, and it’s a doozy. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an opinion in ACLU v. Clapper holding thatContinue Reading