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Category Archives: FISA

PCLOB Releases Recommendation Assessment Report

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Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 4:14 PM

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has released an assessment of the status of each of the Board’s 22 recommendations regarding Section 215 and Section 702 programs. More information, including the assessment, a fact sheet, and a table summarizing the Board’s recommendations, can be found in the release by the Board—the relevant part of . . .
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Harvard Event with Bruce Schneier and Edward Snowden

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Monday, January 26, 2015 at 12:20 PM

On Friday, the former spoke by videolink with the latter, about (unsurprisingly enough) surveillance, privacy and data security. Youtube has a video of their discussion:

The State of the Union on Counterterrorism: Does The Rhetoric Match the Policies?

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 4:28 PM

On counterterrorism, the President’s speech was a study in mismatches—as was apparent last night in at least two respects. First: The address began with an odd intermix of statements related, on one hand, to the economy, and on the other hand, to post-9/11 military engagement and the subsequent end of the wars in Afghanistan and . . .
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The NRC’s Bulk Collection Report: a High-Level Overview

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Last week, Wells noted the release of an important, 85-page report by the National Research Council. (Yesterday, Herb Lin added his thoughts about it.) Broadly, Bulk Collection of Signals Intelligence: Technical Options concludes that right now, there are no software-based techniques that could fully replace the bulk collection of data. Below, I offer a high-level, . . .
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National Academies Report on Bulk Signals Intelligence

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Monday, January 19, 2015 at 9:58 AM

On January 15, 2015, the National Research Council released a report entitled Bulk Collection of Signals Intelligence: Technical Options. Responding to PPD-28, the document was requested by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to “assess the feasibility of creating software that would allow the Intelligence Community more easily to conduct targeted information acquisition . . .
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New NSA Documents on Offensive Cyberoperations

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Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 2:10 PM

Jacob Appelbaum, Laura Poitras and others have another NSA aticle with an enormous Snowden document dump on Der Spiegel, giving details on a variety of offensive NSA cyberoperations to infiltrate and exploit networks around the world. There’s a lot here: 199 pages. (Here it is in one compressed archive.) Paired with the 666 pages released . . .
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President Obama Comments on Back-doors in Encryption

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Friday, January 16, 2015 at 5:50 PM

We’ve yet to find a transcript of President Obama’s remarks during today’s press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, but according to several news outlets, the President made a number of interesting statements regarding cybersecurity and data encryption. “If we get into a situation which the technologies do not allow us at all to track . . .
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A Response to Bruce Schneier and a Cautious Defense of Energy in the Executive

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Friday, January 16, 2015 at 3:30 PM

Bruce Schneier has responded to my earlier exchange with Edward Snowden with a challenging question: Putting aside what the Constitution currently does or does permit, wouldn’t it be better if all surveillance decisions were subject to judicial review? Shouldn’t we prefer philosophically an executive bound to formal review mechanisms in all coercive activities—even, say, in overseas surveillance . . .
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NRC Study on (The Lack of) Software-Based Replacements for Bulk Collection

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Friday, January 16, 2015 at 11:34 AM

Scientific Computing had this news yesterday, about the important DNI-ordered study from the National Research Council: WASHINGTON, DC — No software-based technique can fully replace the bulk collection of signals intelligence, but methods can be developed to more effectively conduct targeted collection and to control the usage of collected data, says a new report from the National . . .
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Why Are Commentators So Quick to Call Paris a Lone Wolf Attack?

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 5:30 PM

Although new facts are emerging each day, and we can anticipate that the facts will continue to develop, I have been surprised by recent commentary (this for example), suggesting that the Paris attacks are indicative of the “lone wolf” phenomenon. In my view, it is too soon to tell whether the attacks were directed, controlled, sponsored . . .
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Accountability as a Security System

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 11:30 AM

At a CATO surveillance event last month, Ben Wittes talked about inherent presidential powers of surveillance with this hypothetical: “What should Congress have to say about the rules when Barack Obama wants to know what Vladimir Putin is talking about?” His answer was basically that Congress should have no say: “I think most people, going . . .
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An Overview of the NSA’s Declassified Intelligence Oversight Board Reports

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Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 4:06 PM

As reported last month, the NSA in late December declassified more than ten years of NSA quarterly reports to the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB). In them, the NSA lists, with varying degrees of detail and redaction, suspected violations of policies intended to ensure that the NSA’s intelligence gathering activities are in conformity with its . . .
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NSA Releases IG Reports on Possibly Illegal Agency Activities

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Friday, December 26, 2014 at 2:22 PM

On December 23, the NSA released a set of redacted reports detailing “intelligence activities . . . that [it has] reason to believe may be unlawful or contrary to Executive order or Presidential directive,” reports which had been submitted to the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB) pursuant to Executive Order 12333. The declassification includes quarterly . . .
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Did Edward Snowden Call for Abolishing the Intelligence Community?

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Forget North Korea. Forget the Islamic State. Forget the Iranian nuclear program. I want to tell you about my exchange with Edward Snowden—and the amazing things he seems to have said in it. The exchange took place a couple of weeks ago, when I appeared as a last-minute sub-in on a panel at the Cato . . .
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The 2014 Cato Institute Surveillance Conference

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Last Friday, the Cato Institute held an all-day conference to explore the questions raised by the growth of government surveillance, the revelations of NSA activities by Edward Snowden, and how these newly disclosed technologies should be regulated by the Fourth Amendment and federal law. Ben took part in the conversation on the second panel, which included Charlie . . .
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DOJ releases six FISC documents on StellarWind

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Monday, December 15, 2014 at 6:44 PM

The Department of Justice has released six Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) documents related to the surveillance activities originally initiated by President George W. Bush following the attacks of September 11, 2001—including the so-called “StellarWind” program. As reported by Charlie Savage of the New York Times, the documents shed new light on the legal debate . . .
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Over 700 Million People Taking Steps to Avoid NSA Surveillance

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Monday, December 15, 2014 at 9:02 AM

There’s a new international survey on Internet security and trust, of “23,376 Internet users in 24 countries,” including “Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States.” Amongst the findings, 60% of Internet . . .
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Lawfare Podcast, Episode #103: Mieke Eoyang on FAA Exclusivity

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Saturday, December 13, 2014 at 1:55 PM

A few weeks ago, Mieke Eoyang wrote and post on Lawfare entitled “A Modest Proposal: FAA Exclusivity for Collection Involving U.S. Technology Companies.” Mieke is a long-time congressional staffer on national security matters, who served a stint on the House Intelligence Committee during the drafting of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) and now runs national security . . .
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DNI: FISC Reauthorizes Telephony Metadata Collection for 90 Days

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Monday, December 8, 2014 at 9:19 PM

Today, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James R. Clapper declassified the fact that the government filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to extend the National Security Agency’s telephony metadata collection program by ninety days. The FISC signed off on the request. In March, President Obama had announced his intention to secure . . .
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Smith v. Obama Oral Argument

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Monday, December 8, 2014 at 11:57 AM

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has live-streaming video of this morning’s oral argument, in a challenge to the NSA’s call records program. The live stream will get underway at 9:00 a.m. PST.  [Update: Smith is but one of six cases set before argument today before Circuit Judges Michael Hawkins, Margaret McKeown and Richard . . .
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