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Category Archives: Patriot Act

EFF – Senate Still Considering Giving FBI More Power to Spy on Browser History

Via EFF – “Despite strong opposition in Congress and from the grassroots, the FBI is still pushing to expand its National Security Letter (NSL) authority. The proposed amendments would allow the FBI to serve companies with NSLs and obtain a wide range of Internet records, known as Electronic Communication Transactional Records (ECTRs), including browsing history.  In addition to a well-documented history of NSL abuse over the last 15 years, the FBI routinely exceeded its authority, claiming for years that it had the power to demand ECTRs with an NSL. It took an intervention [.pdf] by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2008 to definitively establish that the law did not support those claims. Unfortunately, an amendment, sponsored by Senators John McCain and John Cornyn and vigorously promoted by FBI Director James Comey, would grant the FBI the power to access ECTRs, including information like a users’ browsing history as well as other online records…”

GAO Report – FACE Recognition Technology: FBI Should Better Ensure Privacy and Accuracy

ACE Recognition Technology: FBI Should Better Ensure Privacy and Accuracy, GAO-16-267: Published: May 16, 2016. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 2016. “The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operates the Next Generation Identification-Interstate Photo System (NGI-IPS)— a face recognition service that allows law enforcement agencies to search a database of over 30 million… Continue Reading

The Guardian – How the Pentagon punished NSA whistleblowers

Mark Hertsgaard – The Guardian – “By now, almost everyone knows what Edward Snowden did. He leaked top-secret documents revealing that the National Security Agency was spying on hundreds of millions of people across the world, collecting the phone calls and emails of virtually everyone on Earth who used a mobile phone or the internet.… Continue Reading

Study identifies metadata mining of telephone data by NSA

“Privacy protections against government surveillance are often scoped to communications content and exclude communications metadata. In the United States, the National Security Agency operated a particularly controversial program, collecting bulk telephone metadata nationwide. We investigate the privacy properties of telephone metadata to assess the impact of policies that distinguish between content and metadata. We find… Continue Reading

CIA allegedly destroyed sole copy of Senate torture report

The Independent: “The CIA inspector general’s office has said it “mistakenly” destroyed its only copy of a comprehensive Senate torture report, despite lawyers for the Justice Department assuring a federal judge that copies of the documents were being preserved. The erasure of the document by the spy agency’s internal watchdog was deemed an “inadvertent” foul-up… Continue Reading

The Intercept announces greater access to Snowden archive

Via The Intercept: The Intercept Is Broadening Access to the Snowden Archive. Here’s Why – “Today, The Intercept is announcing two innovations in how we report on and publish these materials. Both measures are designed to ensure that reporting on the archive continues in as expeditious and informative a manner as possible, in accordance with the… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

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 by… Continue 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) lays… Continue 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 Union… Continue 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 the… Continue 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