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.).

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…

ACLU in POLITICO: Roll Back the Surveillance State

ACLU in POLITICO: Roll Back the Surveillance State

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:13pm

Because of the extraordinary revelations last week by the Guardian, Congress and the American people now know that the Patriot Act is being used by the National Security Agency to collect the phone records of all Americans, every day. There's no more debate about whether the government, and the military at that, is spying on us: only whether Congress is going to stop them.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the government to obtain ‘any tangible thing' relevant to an investigation. According to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, this authority has been used to collect all phone records in the U.S., even those of law-abiding citizens who have no connection to crime or terrorism whatsoever. The administration and a few members of Congress have confirmed and defended this practice as necessary to protect national security.

But there's no reason to believe that the government's collection efforts stop there.

Read the rest of the piece at POLITICO: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/roll-back-the-surveillance-state-92550.html

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CISPA Claws Back to Life

CISPA Claws Back to Life

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:54pm

It's baa-aaack.

The House cybersecurity bill that allows the National Security Agency (NSA) and the military to collect your private internet records is scheduled for an encore appearance on Wednesday. House Intelligence Committee Chairman…

A FOIA White Out

A FOIA White Out

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:46pm

Secret law exists inside the United States.

As we wrote a few weeks ago, one of the main issues discussed on the Senate floor during the FISA debate was secret law.  Under the law,  the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court makes…

Warrantless Wiretapping Program Expires in Three Weeks: What Will the Senate Do?

Warrantless Wiretapping Program Expires in Three Weeks: What Will the Senate Do?

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:39am

As we've told you many times, we believe the FISA Amendments Act is unconstitutional and have taken it to the Supreme Court . There’s not a vote in sight in the Senate. Frankly, that’s not a bad thing. We won't be disappointed if it…

Senate Votes Down Improved Cybersecurity Bill

Senate Votes Down Improved Cybersecurity Bill

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:12pm

This morning, the Senate voted against moving forward on cybersecurity legislation, ending the bill’s chances at final passage.

As we told you earlier this week, the Senate version of the cybersecurity bill (S. 3414, the Cybersecurity…

Cyber Update: Do or Die Time

Cyber Update: Do or Die Time

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:40pm

Cybersecurity legislation is on the Senate floor at this very moment, and critical votes could start as early as this evening. Here’s your primer on what’s at stake and how we expect things to go down.

Where are we in the process?…

New Senate Cyber Bill No Better Than Last Version

New Senate Cyber Bill No Better Than Last Version

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:41pm

Yesterday, Republican Senators introduced a rewrite of their cybersecurity bill, known as SECURE IT. Advocates registered their opposition to the bill last month and its CISPA-like expansion of military authority to collect sensitive information…

In House Hearing, ACLU Tells Congress to Fix FISA

In House Hearing, ACLU Tells Congress to Fix FISA

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:21am

Yesterday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security held a hearing on the government’s warrantless wiretapping program (watch here). The law authorizing the program, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, expires at…

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