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.).

House to Vote on FISA Amendments Act Wednesday

House to Vote on FISA Amendments Act Wednesday

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:39pm
It’s back. On Wednesday the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a five-year reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA), the 2008 law that legalized the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program and more. It permits the government to get year-long orders from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international communications—including phone calls, emails, and internet records—for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence.  The orders need not specify who is going to be spied on or even allege that the targets did anything wrong.  The only guarantees that the FAA gives are that no specific American will be targeted for wiretapping and that some (classified) rules about the use of intercepted information will be followed.
From POLITICO: The Privacy Risks of CISPA

From POLITICO: The Privacy Risks of CISPA

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

Reports of significant data breaches make headlines ever more frequently, but lost in the cloak and dagger stories of cyberespionage is the impact proposed cybersecurity programs can have on privacy. The same Internet that terrorists, spies and criminals…

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…

Keep Domestic Cybersecurity Efforts in Civilian Hands

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 8:37am

Last night the House of Representatives passed HR 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA. We’ve written about the many privacy problems with this bill, but here I would like to focus on one of its biggest and most fundamental…

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…

Warrantless Wiretapping Wins Again

Warrantless Wiretapping Wins Again

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:23pm

It’s official.  The Senate voted 72-23 last week to extend the FISA Amendments Act another five years, which President Obama signed Sunday. Unfortunately, the public discussion of George W. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program may…

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…

Senate Committee Releases Report On FISA Reauthorization

Senate Committee Releases Report On FISA Reauthorization

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:44pm

This past Friday, the Senate Intelligence Committee publicly released its report on S. 3276, a five year extension of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA). The Committee voted 13-2 to extend the FAA-the law that legalized President Bush’s…

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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