Posts Tagged ‘privacy’
Readers, so sorry posts on bannedlibrarian have slowed down. A new job and book writing have kept me a little too busy, but I plan to get back to blogging soon.
In the meantime, I wanted to share this news story:
“Gagged for 6 Years, Nick Merrill Speaks Out on Landmark Court Struggle Against FBI’s National Security Letters” (Democracy Now, August 11, 2010)
The program also features George Christian, executive director of Library Connection, a consortium of libraries in Connecticut that sued the government after receiving their own National Security Letter in 2005.
Update: “Lawmakers Cave to FBI in Patriot Act Debate” in Wired.com.
During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Patrick Leahy, the committee chairman, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) introduced last-minute changes (.pdf) that would strip away some of the privacy protections Leahy had espoused just the week before. The Vermont Democrat said his own, original proposal of last week could jeopardize ongoing terror investigations.
… The Leahy-Feinstein amendment, which is likely to be adopted by the committee and sent to the full Senate next week, does not require the government show a connection between the items sought under a Section 215 warrant and a suspected terrorist or spy.
A year to the day since Pres. Bush signed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 expanding government wiretapping powers, five major government agencies have now released a report on the controversial issue. I’ve aggregated a few pieces of background information along with the report itself, civil liberties commentary and reports on related intelligence legislation. Links below.
In the News This Week
Report: Bush-era surveillance went beyond wiretaps
LA Times, July 11, 2009
Analysis from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who will argue a case in district court this week on the issue of NSA wiretapping of U.S. residents through communication provider AT&T (Jewel v. NSA).
Privacy: An Abbreviated Outline of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping
Library of Congress, 2008
Warrantless Wiretaps: A Guide to the Debate
National Public Radio, 2006
Annual Wiretap Reports from the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
Each year the U.S Courts must submit a full report to Congress on all wiretaps for the prior year (pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 2519). These reports include analysis and outcomes resulting from surveillance efforts.
A Review of the FBI’s Use of National Security Letters: Assessment of Corrective Actions and Examination of NSL Usage in 2006
Dept. of Justice, Office of Inspector General, March 2008
A Review of the FBI’s Use of Section 215 Orders for Business Records in 2006, Special Report, March 2008
Dept. of Justice, Office of Inspector General, March 2008
(These last two reports are updated annually. To stay up to date see the U.S. Department of Justice publications).
Intelligence Court Releases Ruling in Favor of Warrantless Wiretapping
Washington Post, By Del Quentin Wilber and R. Jeffrey Smith
Excerpt: …The ruling, which was issued in August but not made public until now, responded to an unnamed telecommunications firm’s complaint that the Bush administration in 2007 improperly demanded information on its clients, violating constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. The company complied with the demand while the case was pending.
In its opinion, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review ruled that national security interests outweighed the privacy rights of those targeted, affirming what amounts to a constitutional exception for matters involving government interests “of the highest order of magnitude.”
View (heavily redacted) FISA Court ruling here. [PDF] download
In yesterday’s hearing, attorney general nominee Eric Holder made it clear he intends to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act and reiterated his support for FISA’s Protect American Act, which permits warrantless wiretapping.
Alternet, By Liliana Segura, January 16, 2009
Excerpt: …Holder’s responses to the question of warrantless wiretapping gave even less to be optimistic about. “There are certain things that a president has the constitutional right that the legislative branch cannot impinge upon,” Mr. Holder said, stressing that wiretapping had proven to be a critical intelligence tool. Like Obama, he said he supported the immunity provisions for telecoms as provided for by the Protect America Act of 2007….
Coincidentally, Eric Holder’s confirmation hearing came on the same day that a federal intelligence court released an unprecedented ruling — made last August — that validated the Protect America Act. As Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times: “the decision marks the first time since the disclosure of the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program three years ago that an appellate court has addressed the constitutionality of the federal government’s wiretapping powers. In validating the government’s wide authority to collect foreign intelligence, it may offer legal credence to the Bush administration’s repeated assertions that the president has the power to act without specific court approval in ordering national security eavesdropping that may involve Americans.”
A coalition of human rights, media reform, civil liberties and progressive policy groups put forward an agenda for the new administration that’s worth reading. It includes recommendations and resources for policy change around detention and interrogation, immigration, surveillance, and privacy.
From the introduction on Secrecy, Surveillance, and Privacy:
In the last months of the Bush Administration the Department of Justice rewrote the Attorney General Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) for FBI investigations, removing important restrictions on the FBI’s investigative authorities and opening the door to racial profiling. The new Guidelines consolidated existing Guidelines governing FBI criminal investigations, national security investigations, and foreign intelligence collection operations, which the Bush Administration had already loosened considerably in 2002, 2003, and 2006, respectively. But the new Guidelines go much further by overturning longstanding limitations on FBI investigations of public demonstrations, and authorizing the FBI to conduct invasive “assessments” without having a factual predicate to justify an investigation of any kind.
Read the full document here.