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.).

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 on Americans’ internet use.  
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…

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…

New Cybersecurity Amendments Unveiled to Address Privacy Concerns

New Cybersecurity Amendments Unveiled to Address Privacy Concerns

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:28pm

No cyber news is usually good news, but today is an exception.  Senators have unveiled significant privacy amendments that will be incorporated into S. 2105, the Cybersecurity Act.  Authored by Sens. Lieberman, Feinstein, Rockefeller and…

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…

FBI's Latest Power Grab Is a Bold and Unnecessary Move

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:17pm

What do the ACLU, the former director of the NSA and a tech industry lawyer all have in common (and this is not a joke)? They believe that the government's recent request to let the FBI get Americans' internet use records in national security investigations…

We're Itching For a Fight With Some Contempt

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 8:47am
Yesterday we saw the beginning of what the media is calling a "showdown" between Capitol Hill and the White House. We hope it grows into a full-on rumble. The House Judiciary Committee voted to hold former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White…
Congressional Momentum Against NSA Spying Continues to Grow

Congressional Momentum Against NSA Spying Continues to Grow

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:01pm

To hear some in the press tell it, Congress could not be more indifferent to the recent revelations that the NSA is collecting all of the phone records of all law-abiding Americans. This isn't entirely an unfair conclusion to draw, however rash. Congress,…

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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