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Category Archives: Patriot Act

Here’s Who Just Voted to Let the FBI Seize Your Online Search History Without a Warrant

Gizmodo – “A bipartisan amendment that would have prohibited law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, from obtaining the web browsing and internet search histories of Americans without a warrant failed to pass in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday by a single vote. Twenty-seven Republicans and 10 Democrats voted against the amendment to H.R. 6172, which will reauthorize lapsed surveillance powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The amendment offered up by Sen. Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, and Sen. Steve Daines, Republican of Montana, would have forced the government to get a warrant before obtaining the internet search history of Americans. Under Section 215 of the Act, the government can compel phone companies and internet service providers to turn over such data, if it is deemed vaguely “relevant” to a terrorism or counterespionage case. In a speech on the Senate floor ahead of the vote, Sen. Wyden questioned whether law-abiding Americans should have to “worry about their government looking over their shoulders” at all times of the day.

“The typical American may think to themselves, I’ve got nothing to worry about. I’ve done nothing wrong. The government has no reason to suspect me of anything. Why should I worry?” Wyden said. “Unfortunately, the question is not whether you did anything wrong. The question is whether a government agent believes they have the right to look at your web searches. In other words, it’s open season on anyone’s most personal information.” “The warrantless collection of Americans’ web browsing history offers endless opportunities for abuse,” he said…”

AALL, ALA and other advocacy groups raise privacy concerns for AG Sessions

Via CDT – January 9, 2017 – To Senator Charles Grassley, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, Re: Nomination for Attorney General of Senator Sessions “Dear Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein: We are writing to express our concerns about the privacy record of the President-Elect’s nominee for Attorney… Continue Reading

Boundaries of Law: Exploring Transparency, Accountability, and Oversight of Government Surveillance Regimes

Korff, Douwe and Wagner, Ben and Powles, Julia and Avila, Renata and Buermeyer, Ulf, Boundaries of Law: Exploring Transparency, Accountability, and Oversight of Government Surveillance Regimes (January 5, 2017). Global Report – January 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2894490 “Modern information technologies have given governments an unprecedented ability to monitor our communications. This capability can be… Continue Reading

House Intel Committee Releases Declassified Snowden Report

News release: “The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence today released a declassified version of its investigative report on Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who fled to China and then Russia after stealing an estimated 1.5 million classified documents. The report, including redactions for classified information, was the result of a two-year… Continue Reading

Snowden interviewed by Yahoo News in Russia

“In an exclusive interview in Russia with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric, Edward Snowden, the fugitive whistleblower who leaked information about U.S. surveillance activities, says he is “kind of encouraged” by the idea that Russian President Vladimir Putin might return him to the U.S. to stand trial because that would show the world he’s… Continue Reading

The Terrorist Screening Database and Preventing Terrorist Travel

CRS – The Terrorist Screening Database and Preventing Terrorist Travel. Jerome P. Bjelopera, Specialist in Organized Crime and Terrorism; Bart Elias, Specialist in Aviation Policy; Alison Siskin, Specialist in Immigration Policy. November 7, 2016. “After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the federal government developed a unified regimen to identify and list known or… Continue Reading

EFF Fighting NSL Gag Orders With Help From CREDO and Internet Archive

News release: “…EFF has been litigating the constitutionality of NSLs on behalf of unnamed clients in a total of three related court cases beginning in 2011. This week, telecom provider CREDO confirmed that it was the company involved in one of these long-running cases, and published the letters it received three years ago. CREDO, represented… Continue Reading

The Intercept – NSA’s Spy Hub in New York, Hidden in Plain Sight

“…33 Thomas Street is different: An investigation by The Intercept indicates that the skyscraper is more than a mere nerve center for long-distance phone calls. It also appears to be one of the most important National Security Agency surveillance sites on U.S. soil — a covert monitoring hub that is used to tap into phone… Continue Reading

District Court Judge releases list of more than 200 cases veiled in secrecy of Patriot Act

Washington Post – This judge just released 200 secret government surveillance requests “U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell, a former Senate aide who helped draft the Patriot Act, has defied easy labeling throughout a decades-long career spent charting the frontier of technology and law in the nation’s capital….In ordering the first-ever release by a… Continue Reading

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. … Continue Reading

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