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.).

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 warrantless wiretapping program and more --without amendment, and without conducting any public oversight. The Committee also rejected crucial amendments by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) that would have increased transparency and privacy protections for Americans.
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…

FISA Amendments Act is Back

FISA Amendments Act is Back

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:28am

Remember the George W. Bush warrantless wiretapping program? The one that was so illegal that Congress had to pass a special law to ensure that no one was prosecuted for it or sued by their customers for facilitating it? And was found by independent…

Next Round in Cybersecurity Battle: The Senate

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:36pm

Two weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). But thanks to internet activism and advocacy by organizations like the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, 168 Congressmen voted…

National Security Letters: A Note On Numbers

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 7:53pm

A new article in Wired covers the evolution of the gag orders that come with national security letters (NSLs), secret FBI demands for your communication, internet, financial and credit records in terrorism investigations. As we wrote on Wednesday,…

Cybersecurity Bill Advances in House – But Does it Advance Privacy?

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:06pm

Wednesday, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity passed a bill that will permit greater information sharing for cybersecurity efforts. Called the PRECISE Act, the bill as reported out of the subcommittee, will create an exception…

Happy Cybersecurity Awareness Month!

Happy Cybersecurity Awareness Month!

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:50pm

We would like to educate you about how cybersecurity may justify the next series of big brother powers.

Howlers on the Patriot Act

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project & Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:44pm

The Patriot Act has been surrounded by a cloud of fear-mongering since it was reintroduced almost immediately after the 9/11 attacks and rushed through Congress, without any finding that the sweeping new powers granted by the act had anything to do…

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…

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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