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.).

Cyber Protection Act Too Broad, Infringes on Our Privacy Rights

Cyber Protection Act Too Broad, Infringes on Our Privacy Rights

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:12am
This week is “Cybersecurity Week” in the House of Representatives, and members will vote on a handful of bills intended to protect cybersecurity — the ability to prevent and respond to threats from foreign governments, terrorists and criminals over the Internet. Some of the bills are civil-liberties-neutral but, as usual when addressing a security issue, Congress is considering a bill that overreaches — this time by allowing companies to share private and sensitive information with the government without a warrant and without much oversight.
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…

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…

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…

Misdirection: The House Intelligence Committee’s Misleading Patriot Act Talking Points

Misdirection: The House Intelligence Committee’s Misleading Patriot Act Talking Points

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:46pm

This week the House Intelligence Committee circulated nine talking points to its members explaining why the dragnet collection of innocent Americans’ call records is both legal and effective at stopping terrorism. After reviewing the document, the ACLU has gone point-by-point, making notes that either refute or raise serious doubts about almost every assertion in the one-pager. Just click on the document below and hover on the red dots to see our comments.

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.…

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…

CISPA Remains Fatally Flawed After Secret Committee Markup

CISPA Remains Fatally Flawed After Secret Committee Markup

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:20pm
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The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Wednesday marked up CISPA,…

CISPA Explainer #1: What Information Can Be Shared?

CISPA Explainer #1: What Information Can Be Shared?

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:05am

We've written extensively about CISPA over the last year, but since the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is set to mark the bill up next week, and the full House to vote on it the week after that, we're posting in more depth about its…

The Government Might Know You're Reading This

The Government Might Know You're Reading This

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:01pm

"If you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about."

Many Americans have said this, or heard it, when discussing the expanded surveillance capabilities the government has claimed since 9/11. But it turns out…

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