Government Secrecy

The FISA Court’s Problems Run Deep, and More Than Tinkering is Required

The FISA Court’s Problems Run Deep, and More Than Tinkering is Required

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:14am
With the latest release of documents about the NSA and the FISA Court (this one in response to an ACLU/EFF Freedom of Information Act request) we now have yet more evidence that the NSA’s compliance with the court’s orders has been poor. We learn, for example, that, according to the court, “the NSA exceeded the scope of authorized [metadata] acquisition continuously during the more than [redacted] years of acquisition under these orders.” And, “NSA’s record of compliance with these rules has been poor.”
How a Secret Court's Backwards Logic Opened the Floodgates for NSA Spying

How a Secret Court's Backwards Logic Opened the Floodgates for NSA Spying

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project & Brett Max Kaufman, Legal Fellow, ACLU National Security Project at 2:55pm

This was originally posted at The Guardian.

After yet another avalanche of documents showing how the NSA has spied on our communications for years, Americans should be asking, how did we get here?

The answer is simple: secrecy poisoned…

Is Law Enforcement Getting Wiser About Its Use of New Technologies?

Is Law Enforcement Getting Wiser About Its Use of New Technologies?

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:14am

Some leading police officials around the nation seem to be realizing that high-technology surveillance systems need to be deployed with great care, lest they prompt a public backlash. As the Atlantic Cities pointed out in a piece Friday, the Seattle…

Big Brother's Always Been Watching Some of U.S.

Big Brother's Always Been Watching Some of U.S.

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:49am

As revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden continue to mount, Americans have been shocked by the NSA's incredible invasions of privacy - some more so than others.

There has been a noticeable difference between the reactions of minority…

Government Refusing To Say Whether Phone Tracking Evidence Came From Mass Surveillance

Government Refusing To Say Whether Phone Tracking Evidence Came From Mass Surveillance

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 8:36am

In criminal cases, defendants have a right to know what evidence the government plans to use against them and how the government gathered that evidence. This basic due process principle is essential: it allows defendants to test in court whether law…

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…

Is the Security State Mainly Looking Out For Us, Or For Itself? Two Paradigms Compared

Is the Security State Mainly Looking Out For Us, Or For Itself? Two Paradigms Compared

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:04am

Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing has generated much debate within the United States over whether his leaking of NSA documents was a heroic act or something deserving of punishment. And the NSA activities that he has revealed have similarly generated…

Creepy Government Surveillance Shouldn't Be Kept Secret

Creepy Government Surveillance Shouldn't Be Kept Secret

By Linda Lye, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Northern California at 4:00pm

Shocking revelations about creepy government surveillance came in waves over the summer, from the Snowden leaks to the Hemisphere Project, through which the government has paid AT&T for access to a mind-bogglingly vast database of our telephone…

On the Prospect of Blackmail by the NSA

On the Prospect of Blackmail by the NSA

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:47am

Sometimes when I hear public officials speaking out in defense of NSA spying, I can’t help thinking, even if just for a moment, “what if the NSA has something on that person and that’s why he or she is saying this?”

Of course it’s…

It Sure Sounds Like the NSA Is Tracking Our Locations

It Sure Sounds Like the NSA Is Tracking Our Locations

By Patrick C. Toomey, Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 12:36pm

The drumbeat of “non-denial denials” is getting louder as the NSA continues to refuse to directly state whether it is using cell phone information to track Americans’ whereabouts. When NSA Director Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander was asked again about…

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