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Category Archives: Surveillance: NSA Warrantless Wiretapping

Fishing Expedition

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

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

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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 . . .
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DNI Report on Implementation of Signals Intelligence Reforms: Some Highlights

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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 . . .
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Declassified FISA Court Orders Fill in History of NSA Warrantless Surveillance

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Friday, January 30, 2015 at 8:30 AM

Some key news from earlier in the week: The New York Times obtained two previously classified rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) from May and August 2007. Authored by Judge Roger Vinson (a district court judge who has since left the FISC), the pair were handed to the Times in response to a FOIA lawsuit.  The Times’ Charlie . . .
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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:

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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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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Obstacles Loom for States’ Proposed “Fourth Amendment Protection” Laws

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 9:30 AM

Legislators in several states have proposed bills over the past year intended to hamper the NSA’s efforts to collect signals intelligence.  In Utah, the site of a large NSA data center, a proposed bill would prevent the state, its cities, and its agencies from providing “material support or assistance in any form to any federal . . .
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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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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.

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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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.

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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