The National Security Agency made headlines last week when Politico reported that the agency had made a court filing informing a federal judge that it had accidentally deleted data related to ongoing litigation—Jewel v. NSA—in violation of a court order. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the NSA in Jewel on behalf of AT&T customers in 2008.
Latest in Surveillance: NSA Warrantless Wiretapping
The court fight between Apple and FBI over access to a terrorist iPhone is just the latest chapter in the long-running tension between security professionals trying to get access to information and communications companies who hold user data. The debate is often framed as a balance between government power and individual privacy. Frequently overlooked is the critical role of the communications companies, who as physical and legal gatekeepers regulate government access to private information.
This lede from the New York Times's Charlie Savage says it all:
On midnight of November 29th, the NSA stopped its bulk collection of telephony metadata once authorized under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. Under the USA Freedom Act, which Congress passed in June, the agency was required to reform its phone records program, creating a mechanism by which the data would be stored locally with the phone providers and searchable only after receiving an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) for a "specific selection term."
Understanding the Deeper History of FISA and 702: Charlie Savage's Power Wars on Fiber Optic Cables and Transit Authority
In this post, I want to focus on a narrow slice of Charlie Savage's much-anticipated book Power Wars (published today...go ahead, order it now!), one that might not generate as much attention as the material covering more recent national security law episodes.
There is a lot of bad blood between Silicon Valley companies and the intelligence community. It should not be surprising with what the NSA did to understand why Silicon Valley is pushing back so strongly, with encryption, with lawyers, and with any other tool at their disposal.
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.
Today, the White House released a response to a petition to pardon Edward Snowden. The original petition, filed on June 9th, 2013, has received 167,954 signatures and reads:
Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs.
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
What do hotel registries and national security internet surveillance have in common? On their face, not much. The former (as we learn from City of Los Angeles v. Patel) involves a routinized administrative search, backed by a long history, involving an industry (inn-keeping) that stretches back to biblical times, conducted by local police for comparatively modest reasons of public health and safety.