Blog

  • Internet enemy number one, Lamar Smith, is sponsoring the FISA FAA renewal and pushing it to a vote in the House on Wednesday. This is the bill that retroactively legalized NSA warrantless wiretapping. We need to stop this now.

    posted by Keito
    2012-09-11 15:03:19
    'It’s back. On Thursday the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a five-year reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA), the 2008 law that legalized the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program and more. It permits the government to get year-long orders from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international communications—including phone calls, emails, and internet records—for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence. The orders need not specify who is going to be spied on or even allege that the targets did anything wrong. The only guarantees that the FAA gives are that no specific American will be targeted for wiretapping and that some (classified) rules about the use of intercepted information will be followed.

    After four years, you’d hope that some basic information or parameters of such a massive spying program would be divulged to the public, or at least your rank-and-file member of Congress, but they haven’t. Only a small handful of members have either personally attended classified briefings or have staff with high enough clearances to attend for them. Sen. Ron Wyden—who has been on the Senate Intelligence Committee for years—has even been stonewalled by the Obama administration for a year and a half in his attempts to learn basic information about the program, such as the number of Americans who have had their communications intercepted under the FAA.

    Yet the House ambles on, ready to rubber stamp another five years of expansive surveillance that can pick up American communications without meaningful judicial oversight and without probable cause or any finding of wrongdoing. Instead of blind faith in the executive branch, every member of the House should demand that the administration publicly disclose the following before proceeding with reauthorization:
    • Copies of FISA court opinions interpreting our Fourth Amendment rights under the FAA, with redactions to protect sensitive information (the Department of Justice can write summaries of law if necessary);
    • A rough estimate of how many Americans are surveilled under the FAA every year;
    • A description of the rules that govern how American information picked up by FAA surveillance is protected.

    Can you believe that 435 members of Congress who have sworn to uphold the Constitution are about to vote on a sweeping intelligence gathering law without this basic information? Act now to let them know that it’s time for Congress to fix FISA. Keep an eye on this space and the @ACLU on Twitter for updates this week (for more detailed tweets about FISA, follow @Richardson_Mich, A.K.A. Michelle Richardson, the ACLU’s lobbyist who works on FISA).

    Relatedly, on October 29th, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the ACLU’s constitutional challenge to the FAA, which was filed in 2008 less than an hour after President Bush signed the amendments into law.'

    http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/house-vote-fisa-amendments-act-wednesday
  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee accuses government of 'draconian' internet snooping

    posted by Keito
    2012-09-06 20:47:39
    'The inventor of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has accused the government of invading the privacy by monitoring internet use.

    Sir Tim warned that plans to monitor individuals' use of the internet would result in Britain losing its reputation as an upholder of web freedom

    The plans, by Theresa May, would force service providers to keep records of every phone call, email and website visit in Britain.

    Sir Tim told the Times: "“In Britain, like in the US, there has been a series of Bills that would give government very strong powers to, for example, collect data. I am worried about that."

    Yesterday was the launch of the World Wide Web Foundation's first global Web Index analysing the state of the web in 61 countries using indicators such as the political, economic and social impact of the web, connectivity and use.

    Britain came third in the list which was topped by Sweden and the United States in second place.

    Speaking at the launch, Sir Tim said that Britain would soon slip down the rankings if the draft Communications Data Bill became law.

    “If the UK introduces draconian legislation that allows the Government to block websites or to snoop on people, which decreases privacy, in future indexes they may find themselves farther down the list,” he said.

    The draft bill extends the type of data that internet service providers must store for at least 12 months. Providers would also be required to keep details of a much wider set of data, including use of social network sites, webmail and voice calls over the internet.

    Mrs May has justified the need for the new legislation by saying that it is necessary to combat organised crime and terrorism.

    Sir Tim's comments came on the same day as he denied that there was an 'off'; switch for the internet.

    He said the only way the internet could only ever be completely shut down is if governments across the world coordinated to make it a centralised system:

    "At the moment, because countries connect to each other in lots of different ways, there is no one off switch, there is no central place where you can turn it off.

    "In order to be able to turn the whole thing off or really block, suppress one particular idea then the countries and governments would have to get together and agree and coordinate and turn it from a decentralised system to being a centralised system.

    "And if that does happen it is really important that everybody fights against that sort of direction."'

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/internet/9524681/Sir-Tim-Berners-Lee-accuses-government-of-draconian-internet-snooping.html