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.

Government Reverses Course on Warrantless Wiretapping in Criminal Case, Admits Duty to Notify Defendants

Government Reverses Course on Warrantless Wiretapping in Criminal Case, Admits Duty to Notify Defendants

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 5:08pm
Last week, the government finally took a step toward living up to promises it made in the Supreme Court this past fall. Reversing course in a little-watched criminal case in Florida, the government conceded its obligation to notify defendants when prosecutors intend to use as evidence communications intercepted pursuant to the FISA Amendments Act (FAA), one of the laws authorizing the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs. But while the development in Florida is important, the government continues to take extraordinary efforts to conceal its use of the law from both Congress and the courts. As a result, the likelihood of any court reviewing the FAA’s constitutionality in the context of a criminal proceeding remains slim.
Government Fights to Keep Court Opinions on NSA Spying Hidden From Public

Government Fights to Keep Court Opinions on NSA Spying Hidden From Public

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 12:40pm

Last month, we asked the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court—known as the FISC—to publish its legal opinions allowing the government to track the phone calls of essentially all Americans. Those secret opinions are critical to the ongoing…

NYT: Government Failing to Keep Promises to Supreme Court on Warrantless Wiretapping

NYT: Government Failing to Keep Promises to Supreme Court on Warrantless Wiretapping

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 11:09am

Adam Liptak of The New York Times yesterday brought new public attention to the government's troubling failure to make good on its statements to the Supreme Court last fall, in Clapper v. Amnesty. In that case, the Supreme Court rejected the ACLU'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…

Latest FISA Court Opinion: A Preview of Surveillance Without Limits

Latest FISA Court Opinion: A Preview of Surveillance Without Limits

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 1:35pm

The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) released an opinion yesterday explaining its decision to allow the NSA to collect a record of every single phone call made by every single American every single day.

The program—which…

Raiding the "Corporate Store": The NSA's Unfettered Access to a Vast Pool of Americans' Phone Data

Raiding the "Corporate Store": The NSA's Unfettered Access to a Vast Pool of Americans' Phone Data

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

The director of National Intelligence declassified three documents on Wednesday related to the NSA's mass collection of Americans' telephone records. One of these — a so-called "primary order" issued by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance…

NSA Surveillance: No Checks, No Balance

NSA Surveillance: No Checks, No Balance

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 1:18pm

About two weeks ago, Sens. Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley, the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court asking questions about the court's operations in advance…

Who’s a Radical Now?

Who’s a Radical Now?

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:10am

The Bipartisan Policy Center published a report last week called, “Countering Online Radicalization in America,” which strongly endorsed First Amendment principles in rejecting censorship as an appropriate tactic for addressing violent…

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…

House Reauthorizes Warrantless Wiretapping Program

House Reauthorizes Warrantless Wiretapping Program

By Ateqah Khaki at 5:53pm

Today, the House of Representatives passed a reauthorization of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, an unconstitutional domestic spying law that gives vast, unchecked surveillance authority to the government. The law, passed in July of 2008, authorizes…

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