Private Surveillance Is a Lethal Weapon Anybody Can Buy: Is it too late to rein it in?
Sharon Weinberger, The New York Times, July 19, 2019
. . . One thing is clear: The private surveillance industry is growing. A firm that creates a catalog of these technologies, once named the “Little Black Book of Electronic Surveillance,” changed the name in 2016 to the “Big BlackBook.” It had doubled in size in its first three years. The 2017 edition includes 150 vendors.
The genesis of this global spy bazaar can be traced back to the frenetic weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, when Congress rushed through the Patriot Act, a law that vastly expanded the American government’s wiretapping authorities. In the process, lawmakers inadvertently created a market for companies interested in providing services and technologies to collect and analyze the new trove of data. . . .
Activists, Amnesty International, Azerbaijan, Big Black Book of Electronic Surveillance, Cell Phones, Citizen Lab, Congress, Contractors, Cybersecurity, DarkMatter, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Digital Rights, Drones, Edward Snowden, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Ethiopia, European Union, Exports, Federal, FinSpy, FlexiSPY, Gamma Group, Guardian, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Intelligence Agencies, Internet, Journalists, Israel, Law, Law Enforcement, "Lawful Interception", Luta Security, National Security Agency, New York Times, NSO Group, Patriot Act, Prism, Privacy, Privacy International, Saudi Arabia, Security, State Department, Spyware, Surveillance, Surveillance Industry (Private), Surveillance (Private), Surveillance Technology, Syria, Telephones, TeleStrategies, Terrorism, Unit 8200, Uzbekistan, Vans,"Voice Print", Wassenaar Arrangement, Weapons, "Wiretappers Ball", Wiretapping, WiSpear
Court Denies EFF Effort to Obtain Classified Significant Surveillance Court Opinions
Electronic Frontier Foundation, Aaron Mackey,March 28, 2019
A federal court’s ruling earlier this week has blunted a key provision of the surveillance reform law that required the government to be more transparent about legal decisions made by the United States secret surveillance court.
After Edward Snowden revealed the government’s ongoing mass collection of Americans’ telephone phone records in 2013, Congress responded by passing the USA Freedom Act in 2015. In addition to limiting the NSA’s surveillance authority, Congress also clearly intended to end the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s (FISC) ability to keep the decisions it made behind closed doors secret.
Since its inception in the 1970s, the government has asked the FISC to decide what constitutional or other legal protections, if any, Americans and others enjoy while seeking approval of the government’s secret mass surveillance programs. Though we were not happy with many aspects of the final USA Freedom language, EFF was pleased that the final language did require that the government review and declassify “each decision, order, or opinion” that contained significant interpretations of the Constitution or other laws and to make them “publicly available to the greatest extent practicable.” We believe this language, along with statements from Members of Congress during the debate, clearly require the FISC to release decisions both from before 2015 as well as after. . . .
California, District Court, Edward Snowden, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Freedom of Information Act Requests, Government Transparency, Law, Lawsuits, National Security, National Security Agency, Phone Records, Privacy, Secret Law, Surveillance, USA Freedom Act
The Intercept Shuts Down Access to Snowden Trove: First Look Media, the company that owns the Intercept, also announced that it was laying off several of the researchers who had been charged with maintaining the documents.
Daily Beast 03.13.19 11:02 PM ET
First Look Media announced Wednesday that it was shutting down access to whistleblower Edward Snowden’s massive trove of leaked National Security Agency documents.
Over the past several years, The Intercept, which is owned by First Look Media, has maintained a research team to handle the large number of documents provided by Snowden to Intercept journalists Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald.
But in an email to staff Wednesday evening, First Look CEO Michael Bloom said that as other major news outlets had “ceased reporting on it years ago,” The Intercept had decided to “focus on other editorial priorities” after expending five years combing through the archive. . . .
Freedom of Information Act Requests, Edward Snowden, Federal Government, Government Transparency, Intercept
Disputed N.S.A. Phone Program Is Shut Down, Aide Says
New York Times, Charlie Savage, March 4, 2019
WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency has quietly shut down a system that analyzes logs of Americans’ domestic calls and texts, according to a senior Republican congressional aide, halting a program that has touched off disputes about privacy and the rule of law since the Sept. 11 attacks.
The agency has not used the system in months, and the Trump administration might not ask Congress to renew its legal authority, which is set to expire at the end of the year, according to the aide, Luke Murry, the House minority leader’s national security adviser.
In a raw assertion of executive power, President George W. Bush’s administration started the program as part of its intense pursuit for Qaeda conspirators in the weeks after the 2001 terrorist attacks, and a court later secretly blessed it. The intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden disclosed the program’s existence in 2013, jolting the public and contributing to growing awareness of how both governments and private companies harvest and exploit personal data.
The way that intelligence analysts have gained access to bulk records of Americans’ phone calls and texts has evolved, but the purpose has been the same: They analyze social links to hunt for associates of known terrorism suspects. . . .
George W. Bush Administration, Edward Snowden, National Security Agency, New York Times, Phone Records, Patriot Act, Privacy, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, Security, USA Freedom Act
N.S.A. Purges Hundreds of Millions of Call and Text Records
The New York Times, Charlie Savage, June 29, 2018
WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency has purged hundreds of millions of records logging phone calls and texts that it had gathered from American telecommunications companies since 2015, the agency has disclosed. It had realized that its database was contaminated with some files the agency had no authority to receive.
The agency began destroying the records on May 23, it said in a statement. Officials had discovered “technical irregularities” this year in its collection from phone companies of so-called call record details, or metadata showing who called or texted whom and when, but not what they said.
The agency had collected the data from a system it created under the USA Freedom Act. Congress enacted that law in 2015 to end and replace a once-secret program that had systematically collected Americans’ domestic calling records in bulk. The National Security Agency uses the data to analyze social links between people in a hunt for hidden associates of known terrorism suspects. . . .
Congress, Edward Snowden, Federal, George W. Bush Administration, National Security Agency, New York Times, Patriot Act, Privacy, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, Stellarwind, Surveillance, USA Freedom Act
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