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Category Archives: Surveillance

DOJ Releases Three Redacted FISC Telephone Metadata Orders

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 6:12 PM

From the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s Tumblr site, we learn today that on Tuesday, the Department of Justice released three redacted primary orders of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”) from 2009—all three authorizing collection, from telecommunications companies, of telephony metadata under 50 U.S.C. 1861. Here are the orders: FISC Docket Number BR . . .
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DNI and DOJ on Today’s Intercept Story

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 9:43 AM

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Justice Department together said this today, apparently in response to an earlier Intercept story on FBI and NSA surveillance of Muslim Americans:  It is entirely false that U.S. intelligence agencies conduct electronic surveillance of political, religious or activist figures solely because they disagree with public policies or criticize . . .
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Edward Snowden: Civil Liberties Violator

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Monday, July 7, 2014 at 11:56 PM

A government contractor steals tens of thousands of highly-sensitive communications intercepts. The communications have national security implications, yes, but put that aside for now. They also involve the most intimate details of the lives of thousands of people: their love letters, their pictures of their kids, their pictures of themselves in lingerie, records reflecting their . . .
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The PCLOB on Human Rights & 702: Punt or Long Game?

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Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 10:15 AM

One of the most eagerly awaited aspects of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (“PCLOB”) report on section 702 surveillance was how the PCLOB would treat human rights issues.  In January, 2014, President Obama issued PPD-28, acknowledging that individuals all over the world had privacy interests in data collected by the NSA.  Would the . . .
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Pre-Release PCLOB Report on Section 702 of FISA

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 9:29 PM

Here is a “pre-release” version of the report; the PCLOB will adopt a final version at its meeting tomorrow morning.  It therefore has offered the still-not-yet-official document to the press and public, now, “so as to preview the Board’s findings and recommendations.” The main report’s executive summary overviews the Board’s legal and policy analysis, as well as its policy recommendations.  The . . .
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Privacy and Civil Liberties Board to Issue 702 Report on . . . 7/02

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 4:29 PM

Get it? Actually, I don’t think they did either. It’s a cute coincidence. But at any rate, the PCLOB has announced that it will be releasing its report on FISA 702 collection this evening at 9:00 pm: The Board’s report will contain a detailed analysis of the Section 702 program, with a focus on increasing transparency . . .
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ODNI Declassifies Statistical Transparency Report Regarding Use of National Security Authorities

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Monday, June 30, 2014 at 9:55 AM

On Thursday, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper released the Statistical Transparency Report Regarding Use of National Security Authorities for Calendar Year 2013. The introduction reads: In June 2013, President Obama directed the Intelligence Community to declassify and make public as much information as possible about certain sensitive U.S. Government surveillance programs while protecting . . .
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A Failure of Protocol

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 7:48 PM

The Supreme Court’s decision requiring a warrant for searches of cell phones incident to arrest affirms that we are entitled to privacy in the digital age.  These expectations, the Chief Justice explains, are entirely reasonable.  “Now it is the person who is not carrying a cellphone, with all that it contains, who is the exception.”  . . .
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An Editor’s Note

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 11:06 AM

Earlier this morning, we featured a post regarding key developments in the Mohamud criminal case in Oregon.  Because of an Editor’s error, and not because of any error by its author, the post incorrectly characterized a March discovery ruling in Mohamud as having issued yesterday, and summarized that ruling; but did not address a ruling that was handed . . .
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Two Quite Important Rulings Today

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Coincidentally, they come to us from two different federal judges in the District of Oregon. The first decision concludes that remedial mechanisms associated with the so-called “No Fly” list violate due process;  the second rejects a defendant’s post-conviction effort to have an indictment thrown out—and, among other things, in doing so also rejects a constitutional attack on Section . . .
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7th Circuit Rejects Foreign Surveillance Disclosure Order

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Monday, June 16, 2014 at 4:28 PM

The case is US v. Daoud.  The district court had ordered disclosure of certain FISA materials that were classified to defense counsel.  The 7th Circuit, per Judge Posner, reversed.  The money quote: The judge appears to have believed that adversary procedure is always essential to resolve contested issues of fact. That is an incomplete description . . .
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Carrie Cordero’s Contribution to Cato Unbound Snowden Discussion

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Friday, June 13, 2014 at 11:36 AM

The other day, I linked to the first two contributions to Cato Unbound‘s forum, “The Snowden Files: One Year Later.” Now Carrie Cordero has added an essay, which opens: There is no doubt the Snowden disclosures have launched a debate that raises significant issues  regarding the extent of U.S. government national security surveillance authorities and activities. And Julian . . .
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Cato Unbound Exchange on “The Snowden Files: One Year Later”

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at 10:24 AM

The Cato Institute is hosting an online exchange entitled “The Snowden Files: One Year Later.” The lead essay, by Cato’s Julian Sanchez, opens as follows: America’s first real debate about the 21st century surveillance state began one year ago. There had, of course, been no previous shortage of hearings, op-eds, and panels mulling the appropriate “balance . . .
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Why Does the Omniscient Panopticon Tolerate Glenn Greenwald?

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Monday, June 9, 2014 at 7:11 AM

If you believe Glenn Greenwald’s new book (which I reviewed here), the NSA’s appetite for gobbling up communications is unlimited. Legal controls on its behavior are trivial. Its much-repeated claim that it does not spy on American citizens is a lie. And its goal in its collection activities is political control over citizens, whom surveillance renders . . .
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The Vodafone Transparency Report

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Friday, June 6, 2014 at 7:07 PM

I’m sure that I and others will have more to say about this in the future, but in the meantime, here is the summary and 88-page Vodafone transparency report  that has been widely reported this morning. As I mentioned in my remarks in the debate Ben hosted at Brookings yesterday, the U.S. technology and communications industry . . .
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Germany’s Prosecutor Rolls Up His Sleeves On NSA Surveillance

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Friday, June 6, 2014 at 10:34 AM

A few weeks ago, Ben posted some comments about a Der Spiegel article that suggested the tensions between the United States and Germany were likely to die down. Not so fast, it appears. Germany’s top prosecutor has announced that he is opening an investigation into the alleged tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone. A statement . . .
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Latest District Court Ruling on NSA Surveillance

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 6:19 PM

Today’s ruling in Smith v. Obama grants the government’s motion to dismiss, and thus bats away a Fourth Amendment-based challenge to NSA telephone metadata collection—for the reasons one would expect.  Still, there’s a hint of reluctance in the opinion; its concluding language, to my eye, reads more like an acknowledgment of the district court’s institutional position than . . .
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Interesting Poll Data on Attitudes Toward Snowden

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 8:24 AM

From NBC News. It shows that Snowden has improved in the public’s eye–although less than I would have thought. How would you rate your feelings toward Edward Snowden very positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative—or—very negative? If you don’t know the name, please just say so and we’ll move on. 7/13^     5/14 11%       13%      TOTAL POSITIVE 36%       27%      TOTAL NEGATIVE 4%        5%       Very positive 7%        8% . . .
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Two Great Essays on Glenn Greenwald’s New Book

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014 at 8:06 AM

The first is by George Packer, writing in Prospect: Some of the instances are more subtle than others, but spread over the several hundred pages of this book, they reveal a mind that has liberated itself from the basic claims of fairness. Once the norms of journalism are dismissed, a number of constraints and assumptions . . .
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Critical Comments by Rahul Sagar on My Post on Kinsley

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Monday, June 2, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Rahul Sagar is Associate Professor at Yale NUS and the author of the terrific and timely Secrets and Leaks: The Dilemma of State Secrecy (reviewed favorably by Steven Aftergood on Lawfare and Eric Posner in TNR).  He writes in with some critical comments on my post last week on Michael Kinsley, to which I have . . .
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