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Category Archives: Surveillance: NSA Warrantless Wiretapping

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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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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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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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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Why Glenn Greenwald’s Challenge is Asking the Wrong Question

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Over at Vox an admiring article appears on a challenge that Glenn Greenwald is giving to people who think they have nothing to hide: The most common defense for the massive expansion of government surveillance programs since 2001 is that they only negatively affect people who have something to hide. In a recent TED Talk, Glenn Greenwald, the journalist . . .
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On the Latest Intercept Story

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Monday, October 13, 2014 at 10:03 PM

You may not have read much about the latest big scoop in The Intercept, released Friday evening under the bylines of Peter Maass and Laura Poitras and headlined “Core Secrets: NSA Saboteurs in China and Germany.” There have not been a lot of media organizations following the story. This might be due to the infelicitous timing of . . .
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New Yorker Profile of Laura Poitras

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Monday, October 13, 2014 at 9:24 PM

I have just read George Packer’s profile of Laura Poitras in the New Yorker, which centers around her new, long-awaited film about Edward Snowden. The film, due for release October 24 and called Citizenfour, is the next scheduled act in the Snowden drama. I’ll reserve comment on the film until I’ve seen it. The Packer article, however, . . .
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Some Recent NSA Debates

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Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Here’s some video of some recent NSA debates. Here’s one that took place a couple of weeks ago at Georgetown on “The NSA, Privacy & the Global Internet: Perspectives on EO 12333.” Participants included law professors Nathan Sales, Laura Donohue, DNI General Counsel Bob Litt, and former State Department official John Tyre. This one, from . . .
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NSA Report on Civil Liberties and Privacy Protections under EO 12333

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 4:00 PM

In January 2014, the NSA’s Civil Liberties and Privacy Office (CLPO) was created. The CLPO was tasked with ensuring that civil liberties and privacy protection considerations are integrated into the NSA’s mission activities. Yesterday—and importantly, given the disclosures about NSA surveillance, and subsequent developments—the CLPO released its Report on Civil Liberties and Privacy Protections for . . .
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Plaintiffs File Reply in Klayman v. Obama

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 11:51 PM

Last Friday plaintiffs (appellees/cross-appellants) in Klayman v. Obama filed their reply to the government’s response and reply brief. The plaintiffs’ new 38-page filing largely reiterates arguments from their August 13, 2014 brief—for example, contending again that Riley v. California, 134 S. Ct. 2473 (2014) changes the precedential effect of Smith v. Maryland: “The Supreme Court’s modern up-to-date view of today’s cellular . . .
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