Over at Just Security, Ross Schulman opines that “When NSA Merges Its Offense and Defense, Encryption Loses.” Schulman argues that under NSA’s newly announced reorganization, the Information Assurance Directorate (IAD) “will be subsumed by the intelligence-gathering program” and “effectively cease to exist.”
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Late last year, a judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court gave the green light to the National Security Agency to start using a new tool to help the government protect against international terrorism while balancing the legitimate need to protect privacy and civil liberties. The USA FREEDOM Act, passed by Congress last June, ended the government’s ability to collect information about Americans’ phone calls in bulk under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, and replaced it with a new arrangement – initiated with court approval on Nov.
In my last post, I said that the European Court of Justice decision in Maximillian Schrems v. Data Protection Commission ignores some inconvenient truths. US frustrations with European double standards on surveillance are understandable. They are also beside the point. The US must reform surveillance law – specifically, Section 702 of FISA – if it wants to restore safe harbor.
When Chancellor Angela Merkel recently cited the “challenges” concerning the National Security Agency as an area that the German government has “tackled excellently” this term, many observers were surprised – not least because, two years into the “NSA affair,” the German government continues to vocally criticize American surveillance efforts while failing to address the shortcomings of its own intelligence agencies.
According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Agency will no longer access the historical metadata collected under Section 215 after the 180-day transition period authorized under the USA Freedom Act. The Agency will retain the information for three additional months (so, until sometime in late February 2016) to allow technical personel to evaluate the integrity of data from the new collection method, but it will be off limits for analytical purposes.
Dustin Volz of the National Journal brings us the news that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has "revived the National Security Agency's bulk collection of Americans' phone records" for an additional five months, as allowed under the USA Freedom Act passed earlier this month.
The order, written by Judge Michael W. Mosman, begins