On Friday, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorized the extension of the NSA's collection of bulk telephony metadata under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act until November 29th, 2015—the latter date marking the end of a transition to new, narrower surveillance rules imposed by the USA Freedom Act.
Latest in Section 215
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.
Our guest commentator for episode 74 is Catherine Lotrionte, a recognized expert on international cyberlaw and the associate director of the Institute for Law, Science and Global Security at Georgetown University. We dive deep on the United Nations Group of Government Experts, and the recent agreement of that group on a few basic norms for cyberspace. Predictably, I break out in hives at the third mention of “norms” and default to jokes about “Cheers.”
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
The Foreign Intelligence Surveilance Court's memorandum opinion was signed on Wednesday. On first glance, Judge Dennis Saylor's conclusion seemingly was that the USA FREEDOM Act reinstated and at the same time amended FISA's business records provision as it existed on June 1—thereby permitting continued collection under that authority. As best I can tell, the idea was to iron out a quite conseqential wrinkle, itself caused by the timing of the USA FREEDOM Act's passage and the sunset of key business records language.