Skip to content

Category Archives: FISA

The Latest 215 Collection Renewal

By
Monday, March 2, 2015 at 6:43 AM

It happened Friday. Here’s the White House Statement: In January 2014, President Obama directed an end to the Section 215 bulk telephony metadata program as it then existed, and called for the establishment of a mechanism that would preserve the program’s essential capabilities without the government holding the bulk data. In March 2014, based on . . .
Read more »

Fishing Expedition

By
Friday, February 27, 2015 at 4:00 PM

Do you worry that the NSA, perhaps in a joint program with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, might be considering a “collect-it-all” program to seize and monitor fish, crocodiles, or antelopes for national security purposes?  If so – and I think I may have read something about this on The Intercept – you can . . .
Read more »

Expanding on the International vs. U.S. Surveillance Law Comparisons

By
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Following my post from last week  regarding how the debate over the Snowden disclosures has blurred the distinctions between national security surveillance authorities and consumer privacy law, Tim Edgar pointed out yesterday  that U.S. law is probably one of the most, if not the most, protective legal structures concerning government access to data for national . . .
Read more »

Mysterious Discretion: When Journalists Wield Power We Don’t Understand

By
Monday, February 23, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Last night, Laura Poitras’s Citizenfour received an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, a win I have been anticipating since Glenn Greenwald won the Pulitzer Prize back in April for breaking the Edward Snowden leaks. In honor of the occasion, let’s reflect on the single most compelling moment in Citizenfour. I am talking about the moment in the . . .
Read more »

Why Should We Buy Into The Notion That The United States Doesn’t Care About Privacy?

By
Monday, February 23, 2015 at 8:23 AM

It is a common perception that Americans care less about privacy than Europeans, especially after the attacks of September 11, and the Snowden revelations only seemed to reinforce that perception. Last week, President Obama argued that European privacy complaints are really about something else. Europeans, he said, may simply be using privacy fears as a . . .
Read more »

NSA’s Section 215 Telephony Metadata Program Should and Can Be Shut Down

By
Friday, February 13, 2015 at 7:40 AM

One year ago, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) reviewed the National Security Agency’s bulk telephony metadata program and concluded the program was both illegal and imprudent as a policy matter. Under this program conducted pursuant to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the NSA on a daily basis indiscriminately collects Americans’ . . .
Read more »

DNI Report on Implementation of Signals Intelligence Reforms: Some Highlights

By
Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 8:14 PM

Last week the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released its 2015 Signals Intelligence Reform Report, designed to highlight the intelligence community’s implementation of Presidential Policy Directive (PPD)-28. The document is a mixed bag: There’s some aspirational, high-altitude language; the report also reaffirms previously known intelligence community views regarding the legality of certain operations . . .
Read more »

First Take on Government’s Surveillance Reform Update Report

By
Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 3:12 PM

As Wells noted yesterday the Administration released its report on the implementation of Presidential Policy Directive (PPD)-28. I am still reading through the documents, which include twelve new agency-specific procedures that implement Section 4 of PPD-28, as well as additional restrictions on the counterterrorism telephone metadata program. For now, this post provides observations on two items contained . . .
Read more »

Live: Bob Litt Speaks at Brookings on Intelligence and Surveillance Reform

By
Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 11:58 AM

At the top of the hour, Robert S. Litt, General Counsel at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will speak at the Brookings Institution. His address is expected to examine what has been done so far to implement the directives announced in President Obama’s January 2014 speech at the Department of Justice as . . .
Read more »

What Happens if We #Sunset215?

By
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 2:30 PM

A law the government cites as authority for the bulk collection of millions of Americans’ communications records—Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act—expires unless Congress extends it by Memorial Day weekend. The Center for Democracy & Technology, and other public interest groups, believes that Sec. 215 should sunset unless it is reformed to stop nationwide surveillance . . .
Read more »

DNI Report on Signals Intelligence Reform

By
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 10:29 AM

Today’s document details the implementation of reforms that the President announced a little more than a year ago.  For background on the directive, Lisa Monaco’s statement from the White House is here. The report opens as follows:                                     . . .
Read more »

PCLOB Releases Recommendation Assessment Report

By
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 . . .
Read more »

Harvard Event with Bruce Schneier and Edward Snowden

By
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?

By
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 . . .
Read more »

The NRC’s Bulk Collection Report: a High-Level Overview

By
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, . . .
Read more »

National Academies Report on Bulk Signals Intelligence

By
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 . . .
Read more »

New NSA Documents on Offensive Cyberoperations

By
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 . . .
Read more »

President Obama Comments on Back-doors in Encryption

By
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 . . .
Read more »

A Response to Bruce Schneier and a Cautious Defense of Energy in the Executive

By
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 . . .
Read more »

NRC Study on (The Lack of) Software-Based Replacements for Bulk Collection

By
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 . . .
Read more »