Blog of Rights

Michelle
Richardson

Michelle Richardson (@Richardson_Mich) is a Legislative Counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office where she focuses on national security and government transparency issues such as the Patriot Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, cybersecurity, state secrets and the Freedom of Information Act. Before coming to the ACLU in 2006, Richardson served as counsel to the House Judiciary Committee where she specialized in national security, civil rights and constitutional issues for Democratic Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.).

Way to go DHS! And Shame on the Rest of You

Way to go DHS! And Shame on the Rest of You

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:04am
A very important government report on privacy and cybersecurity programs flew under the radar last week.
Government surveillance oversight

Congress Shouldn't Settle for the President's Opening Offer on NSA Reform

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:28pm

This is the first post in a three-part series.

Less than a year after the NSA's dragnet surveillance of Americans was first exposed to public scrutiny, the president has formally issued a proposal to end the bulk collection of our phone records.…

Data Tunnel

Cyberalarmism's Threat to Privacy

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:26pm

This piece originally ran on Al Jazeera America.

When members of Congress talk cybersecurity, it doesn’t take long for the discussion to turn apocalyptic. The Feb. 27 meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee was no different when Lindsey…

Five Surveillance Myths Stalling NSA Reform, Debunked

Five Surveillance Myths Stalling NSA Reform, Debunked

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:57pm

These piece ran originally at The Guardian.

As you cruise the internet, check Facebook or shoot out a few tweets today, you might notice something strange: a massive digital protest aimed at stopping the NSA surveillance machine. Over 6,000…

The Nine Things You Should Know About the NSA Recommendations From the President’s Review Group

The Nine Things You Should Know About the NSA Recommendations From the President’s Review Group

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:00am

The President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies just issued a report that unequivocally rejected the notion that privacy and civil liberties must be sacrificed in order to achieve a balance with national security. Liberty and Security in a Changing World includes 46 recommendations for how to reform Intelligence Community programs and practices, several of which would go a long way toward protecting Americans' rights. Here are the nine most important things you need to know about those recommendations.

Dianne Feinstein's Fake Surveillance Reform Bill

Dianne Feinstein's Fake Surveillance Reform Bill

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:55am

This was originally posted on The Guardian.

Members of Congress have introduced almost 30 separate bills to rein in NSA spying, increase transparency, or rework the secret court process that has sanctioned these programs. Two pieces of…

The USA FREEDOM Act is Real Spying Reform

The USA FREEDOM Act is Real Spying Reform

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:11am

Over the last several months, members of Congress have introduced at least two dozen spying reform and transparency bills. Today, a new proposal called the USA FREEDOM Act from Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was introduced…

Setting the Bar for Intelligence Reform

Setting the Bar for Intelligence Reform

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:03am

Yesterday afternoon, the first shot in the fight for comprehensive intelligence reform was fired.

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mark Udall (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) held a press conference to discuss the government's…

The NSA Can Only Spy With A Little Help From Its Feds

The NSA Can Only Spy With A Little Help From Its Feds

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:51pm

This week the ACLU published a damning report chronicling the many ways the FBI has abused post-9/11 authorities to spy on everyday Americans. As we noted, the FBI is even enmeshed in the broad suspicionless NSA dragnet of American phone calls.

One…

NSA Legislation Since the Leaks Began

NSA Legislation Since the Leaks Began

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Robyn Greene, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:48am

Since the Guardian published the FISA Court order mandating Verizon Business Network Services hand over all its customers' phone records to the National Security Agency in early June, Congress has responded with bill after bill to rein in the NSA's…

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