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Category Archives: Surveillance

Pew Study Says Exactly What You’d Expect on Privacy

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Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 9:09 AM

The Pew Research Internet Project has released a new public opinion study that shows exactly what you would expect the public believes about privacy, surveillance, and related matters. The study seems to have involved a major effort, and I read it yesterday expecting to find some new insight into public opinion about privacy. Nope. Nothing. . . .
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PCLOB Hearing on “Defining Privacy”

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 9:50 AM

It’s ongoing now.  Details are available here. and live streaming video is available over at C-SPAN.

Appellees File Supplemental Brief in Klayman v. Obama

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Monday, November 10, 2014 at 5:55 PM

A few days after oral argument before a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit last week, Larry Klayman and company filed a supplemental brief, citing a desire to more fully address questions as to how their Fourth Amendment rights were being violated in light of the government’s contention that it had not accessed their calls for reasons beyond . . .
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ODNI Releases FISC Primary Order Pertaining to Telephony Metadata

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Monday, November 10, 2014 at 3:34 PM

On Thursday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the latest declassified Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) Primary Order on its website. The Primary Order, issued by Judge Raymond J. Dearie on September 11, 2014, gives the government authority to collect telephony metadata until December 5. The ODNI had announced publicly on September . . .
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DIA Scales Back Plans for Expanded Defense Clandestine Service…Sort Of

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Those of you interested in the organization of the Intelligence Community may recall a major initiative launched by the Defense Intelligence Agency, in 2012, to expand the size and focus of its HUMINT collection activities (rebranding that aspect of its operation as the Defense Clandestine Service). The basic idea: ramp up the number of spies . . .
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So What Does the New Republican Majority Mean for National Security Issues In Congress?

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 4:17 PM

The result is no surprise: Republicans now control both houses of Congress—or, at least, they will come January. I’ll leave it to others to dissect how we should understand last night’s electoral results in political terms, what it means for President Obama, the 2016 election, or the future of American politics. Here I want to focus . . .
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Recap of Yesterday’s Argument in the Section 215 Case

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Below you’ll find a recap of yesterday morning’s argument in Klayman v. Obama. A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit yesterday considered a key challenge to the NSA’s bulk collection from telephone companies of subscribers’ call detail records, pursuant to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT ACT. Earlier, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon concluded that the . . .
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Oral Argument Audio in Klayman v. Obama

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 3:09 PM

The D.C. Circuit has posted the audio in Klayman v. Obama, the Section 215 case, here.

On Ryan Goodman’s “Interrogation” of the “Parity Principle”

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Monday, November 3, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Over at Just Security, Ryan Goodman analyzes UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson’s claim that states owe the same privacy protections to non-nationals abroad as to their own citizens at home in conducting broad surveillance programs. Emmerson had written, “The Special Rapporteur thus considers that States are legally obliged to afford the same privacy protection for nationals and . . .
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How Not to Do Remote Computer Searches

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Sunday, November 2, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Recently The Guardian reported on FBI demands new powers to hack into computers and carry out surveillance. The FBI is seeking to make several changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which governs how law enforcement can conduct court-approved searches.  Under the proposal, in investigating compromised machines (e.g., those in a botnet), law . . .
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Readings: Henry Farrell on Critics of Snowden and Greenwald

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 8:11 PM

Some time back, Ben noted two stern critiques of Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald—one by Sean Wilentz and another by George Packer. The latter reviewed Greenwald’s book, No Place to Hide; ditto Michael Kinsley, in an article Jack mentioned (and disagreed with) here on Lawfare.   In a piece in the National Interest, Henry Farrell takes on . . .
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A Follow Up on the Postal Service Metadata Program

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 9:40 AM

This morning, I posted some thoughts on a story in the New York Times about so-called “mail covers” by the Postal Service and their relationship to the NSA’s bulk metadata program. It turns out that I rather understated the matter. The reason is that mail covers are actually only one of the Postal Service’s programs that collect . . .
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Will Anyone Care About the Postal Service’s Metadata Program

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 8:38 AM

I’m very interested to watch how the political system responds to this New York Times story about the U.S. Postal’s Service very old, sort-of-bulk metadata program. The Times reports: In a rare public accounting of its mass surveillance program, the United States Postal Service reported that it approved nearly 50,000 requests last year from law enforcement agencies . . .
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Feds Identify Suspected “Second Leaker”

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Monday, October 27, 2014 at 3:51 PM

That’s the headline from Michael Iskikoff at Yahoo! News reporting that the FBI has identified the suspected so-called “second leaker.” The story begins: The FBI has identified an employee of a federal contracting firm suspected of being the so-called second leaker who turned over sensitive documents about the U.S. government’s terrorist watch list to a journalist closely . . .
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DNI Releases Update on PPD-28 Implementation

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 6:57 PM

On Friday, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) released an update on the implementation of Presidential Policy Directive/PPD-28, regarding signals intelligence activities. Issued on January 17 by President Obama, PPD-28 “directs intelligence agencies to review and update their policies and processes … to safeguard personal information collected through signals intelligence.”  (In January, Ben unpacked both the . . .
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Charging Snowden With…Murder? Really?

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Offered without (or only a little) further comment: this piece from The Hill, and a rather eyebrow-raising quotation therein from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers regarding Edward Snowden: The former government contractor who leaked details about secret programs of the National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart is a “traitor,” Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) told members of . . .
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Defendants in United States v. Muhtorov Move to Compel Notice of Surveillance Techniques

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 11:23 AM

As Orin Kerr has already noted on this site, the Department of Justice policy offers very little “notice” to criminal defendants of the surveillance techniques used to obtain evidence.  The defendants in United States v. Muhtorov, charged with providing material support to foreign terrorist organizations, filed a motion Monday asking the District Court for the District . . .
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Sweeping Claims and Casual Legal Analysis in the Latest U.N. Mass Surveillance Report

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Monday, October 20, 2014 at 4:11 PM

U.N. Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson’s report on “mass surveillance” may signal increasing conflict between the US and world bodies on surveillance issues.  The Emmerson report makes sweeping normative claims but fails to ground those claims in an accurate description of the US surveillance program.  The report claims, for example, that a state must impose the . . .
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Chertoff Ties Visa Waiver Program With Surveillance Tools

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Monday, October 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM

In a recent speech at The Heritage Foundation, former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff made the case for continuing the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). On the surface, his speech addressed only why the United States should keep and expand the program. But it did far more. Subtly yet forcefully, it made the case for . . .
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Susan Landau on NSA Efforts to Secure Private Sector Telecommunications Infrastructure

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Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Susan Landau has a new paper – entitled Under the Radar: NSA’s Efforts to Secure Private-Sector Telecommunications Infrastructure – up at the Journal of National Security Law and Policy.  From the abstract: Landau explains the National Security Agency’s little-known function of providing communications security (COMSEC) to private companies, which has involved an improvement of security . . .
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