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Category Archives: Surveillance

District Court Suppresses Pole Camera Surveillance Footage

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Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 4:41 PM

Twitter brings news of this interesting little order in United States v. Vargas.  The court’s opinion was authored by Judge Edward F. Shea and opens: The first duty of government is the safety of its people—by Constitutional means and methods. Technology, including the means for covert surveillance of individuals through the use of a hidden video camera . . .
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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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NSA Hacking of Cell Phone Networks

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Monday, December 8, 2014 at 3:01 PM

The Intercept has published an article—based on the Snowden documents—about AURORAGOLD, an NSA surveillance operation against cell phone network operators and standards bodies worldwide. This is not a typical NSA surveillance operation where agents identify the bad guys and spy on them. This is an operation where the NSA spies on people designing and building . . .
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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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Weighing in on the Encryption and “Going Dark” Debate

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Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Yesterday I took part in a panel discussion entitled “Device Encryption: Too Much Privacy for Consumers?” hosted by the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). The discussion focused on the reinvigorated “going dark” debate, in light of recent steps by Apple and Google (and presumably, others to come) . . .
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Memo to NSA: Stop Saying You Apply the FIPPs

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 11:51 AM

The intelligence community has no set of general principles for judging the privacy impact of their programs.  Some privacy scholars believe that the Fair Information Protection Principles (FIPPs) serve this purpose and can apply to intelligence programs as they do to myriad other government programs.  The NSA itself said in a recent report on collection . . .
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A Quick Summary of Oral Argument in In Re Directives

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Monday, November 24, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Earlier this Fall I wrote about how certain materials from the In Re Directives litigation before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (“FISCR” or “Court”) had been declassified. Last Monday, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the transcript from oral argument in the FISCR case, which was held on June 19, . . .
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Live Q&A Today with NSA’s Civil Liberties and Privacy Director

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Monday, November 24, 2014 at 12:12 PM

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is hosting an “online, interactive” Q&A today with Rebecca Richards, the NSA’s point person for civil liberties and privacy. Users can submit their questions via Tumblr here, and Ms. Richards will answer them live beginning at 2 PM EST.

On the Oddity of the Patriot Act Sunset Provisions

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Monday, November 24, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Last week, the New York Times‘s Charlie Savage had what seems to me a pretty big, if under-discussed, scoop—or perhaps we should say that he channelled to the public a pretty big scoop by former Senate Intelligence Committee chief counsel Michael Davidson. The news, which certainly caught me unawares, is that the Patriot Act sunset provision—stated . . .
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A Modest Proposal: FAA Exclusivity for Collection Involving U.S. Technology Companies

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Monday, November 24, 2014 at 8:00 AM

I’ve been wrestling with an idea on electronic surveillance reform, and when I recently consulted with Benjamin Wittes about it, he encouraged me to post here and seek the feedback of Lawfare’s readership. So here goes my maiden Lawfare post: a modest proposal for reform of the legal authorities under which NSA collects communications content . . .
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The Senate Kills Surveillance Reform and Glenn Greenwald Shrugs

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014 at 10:47 AM

The Senate yesterday buried—at least for now—surveillance reform, when Republican senators refused to allow the current draft of the measure to proceed to a vote. Glenn Greenwald has an interesting reaction to the legislative death of the grandiosely-named USA Freedom Act: It doesn’t matter. He writes, “it has been clear from the start that U.S. legislation is . . .
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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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