FISA Amendments Act

The government is relying upon the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA) to engage in the surveillance of Americans' international phone calls, text messages, and emails. Recent disclosures show that an unknown number of purely domestic communications are also monitored, that the rules that supposedly protect Americans' privacy are weak and riddled with exceptions, and that virtually every email that goes into or out of the United States is scanned for suspicious keywords. Click here to read more about the ACLU's work to reform the FAA.

Does Surveillance Affect Us Even When We Can’t Confirm We’re Being Watched? Lessons From Behind the Iron Curtain

Does Surveillance Affect Us Even When We Can’t Confirm We’re Being Watched? Lessons From Behind the Iron Curtain

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 2:16pm
During the Cold War, as I argued last week, the totalitarian governments of the Soviet bloc functioned as a standing warning to Americans of the dangers of unchecked surveillance—lessons that we would do well to remember despite the fall of the Iron Curtain.
Computers vs. Humans: What Constitutes A Privacy Invasion?

Computers vs. Humans: What Constitutes A Privacy Invasion?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:37pm

The NSA is refusing to tell two U.S. Senators how many Americans the agency has eavesdropped upon. According to a letter obtained by Wired, the NSA claims that “dedicating sufficient additional resources” to gather that information “would likely…

Too Big To Comply? NSA Says It’s Too Large, Complex to Comply With Court Order

Too Big To Comply? NSA Says It’s Too Large, Complex to Comply With Court Order

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 9:52am

In an era of too-big-to-fail banks, we should have known it was coming: An intelligence agency too big to rein in — and brazen enough to say so.

In a remarkable legal filing on Friday afternoon, the NSA told a federal court that its spying…

Under the FISA Amendments Act, Your Calls and Emails Can’t Be "Targeted," But They Can Certainly Be Collected

Under the FISA Amendments Act, Your Calls and Emails Can’t Be "Targeted," But They Can Certainly Be Collected

By Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 2:59pm

In recent days, government officials have lined up to assuage Americans' fears...

Checks, Balances, and the National Security Agency

Checks, Balances, and the National Security Agency

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy & Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:14am

Over the course of three days, the usually invisible National Security Agency has become ostentatiously visible and many Americans...

The NSA's Spying On Americans: Not As "Inadvertent" As It Claims

The NSA's Spying On Americans: Not As "Inadvertent" As It Claims

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 10:19am

Another week, another trove of documents detailing the inner secrets of the NSA's massive spying program. Recent revelations have finally provided a look at the procedures that the NSA uses to target and retain communications under the FISA Amendments…

How the NSA's Surveillance Procedures Threaten Americans' Privacy

How the NSA's Surveillance Procedures Threaten Americans' Privacy

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy & Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 2:33pm

Documents obtained by the journalist Glenn Greenwald and released yesterday by The Guardian show how the National Security Agency...

In Reversal, DOJ Poised to Give Notice of Warrantless Wiretapping

In Reversal, DOJ Poised to Give Notice of Warrantless Wiretapping

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 5:01pm

On Wednesday evening, the New York Times reported that for five years the Department of Justice had a policy that deprived criminal defendants of notice that they had been surveilled under the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) — the 2008 law that authorized…

Fix FISA

Government Privacy Panel: One Step Behind Congress, the Courts, and the American People

By Neema Singh Guliani, ACLU Legislative Counsel at 12:00am

When Congress, the courts, and the American people disagree with you, it's probably time to re-think your position.

Yesterday, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) released its report on the troubling Section 702 surveillance…

Fix FISA

The Privacy Oversight Board Should Have Listened to Senator Obama

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 5:20pm

In 2008, Barack Obama, then a U.S. senator, realized that if an important surveillance law were to pass, Americans’ right to privacy in their international communications would be (in the later words of the Department of Justice) “significantly…

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