Government Secrecy

Government Confirms That It Has Secret Interpretation of Patriot Act Spy Powers

Government Confirms That It Has Secret Interpretation of Patriot Act Spy Powers

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 12:59pm
The government has just officially confirmed what we've long suspected: there are secret Justice Department opinions about the Patriot Act's Section 215, which allows the government to get secret orders from a special surveillance court (the FISA Court) requiring Internet service providers and other companies to turn over "any tangible things." Just exactly what the government thinks that phrase means remains to be seen, but there are indications that their take on it is very broad.
The NSA's Other Privacy Loophole

The NSA's Other Privacy Loophole

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 4:26pm

Earlier today, a former State Department civil servant named John Tye published an important op-ed in the Washington Post, explaining that the NSA has created a giant loophole in Americans' right to privacy. While we now know a good deal about the…

photograph of cancer cells under microscope

Secrecy is a Cancer on Our Democracy

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:25am

In our 2011 ACLU report on secrecy "Drastic Measures Required," my co-author Mike German and I wrote that "American democracy has a disease, and it's called secrecy." Government secrecy, we wrote, "is growing like a cancer in our democracy."

Events…

The Nine Things You Should Know About the NSA Recommendations From the President’s Review Group

The Nine Things You Should Know About the NSA Recommendations From the President’s Review Group

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:00am

The President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies just issued a report that unequivocally rejected the notion that privacy and civil liberties must be sacrificed in order to achieve a balance with national security. Liberty and Security in a Changing World includes 46 recommendations for how to reform Intelligence Community programs and practices, several of which would go a long way toward protecting Americans' rights. Here are the nine most important things you need to know about those recommendations.

A Call for FBI Reform

A Call for FBI Reform

By Matthew Harwood, Media Strategist, ACLU at 12:00pm

Early this summer, the Guardian published a monster story. According to a document it obtained from a government whistleblower...

Sens. Wyden and Udall Weigh in on ACLU Patriot Act FOIA Case

Sens. Wyden and Udall Weigh in on ACLU Patriot Act FOIA Case

By Jameel Jaffer, ACLU Deputy Legal Director and Director of ACLU Center for Democracy at 6:09pm

"Contrary to core principles of American democracy." That's how two U.S. senators describe the Justice Department's refusal to release a secret legal interpretation of the Patriot Act.

Last year, we filed a request under the Freedom…

Guantanámo Judge to Prosecution: Turn Over the Torture Evidence

Guantanámo Judge to Prosecution: Turn Over the Torture Evidence

By Marcellene Hearn, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU National Security Project at 1:16pm

Last month, a military judge dealt a significant blow to U.S. prosecutors' efforts to suppress torture evidence in the Guantanámo military commissions.

In a ruling in the U.S.S. Cole case, unsealed last week, Judge James Pohl told prosecutors…

Annotated: The Most Important Passage from President Obama's NSA Speech

Annotated: The Most Important Passage from President Obama's NSA Speech

By Alex Abdo, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project at 4:41pm

President Obama just gave a landmark speech about NSA surveillance and the future of digital privacy...

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…

In Court Today: Challenging the Drone Killings of Three Americans

In Court Today: Challenging the Drone Killings of Three Americans

By Josh Bell, Media Strategist, ACLU at 10:02am

The New York Times published a powerful op-ed yesterday by Nasser Al-Aulaqi about the killing of his grandson Abdulrahman...

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