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
Revealed: FBI investigated civil rights group as 'terrorism' threat and viewed KKK as victims: Bureau spied on California activists, citing potential ‘conspiracy’ against the ‘rights’ of neo-Nazis
The Guardian Fri 1 Feb 2019 03.01 EST
The FBI opened a “domestic terrorism” investigation into a civil rights group in California, labeling the activists “extremists” after they protested against neo-Nazis in 2016, new documents reveal.
Federal authorities ran a surveillance operation on By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), spying on the leftist group’s movements in an inquiry that came after one of BAMN’s members was stabbed at the white supremacist rally, according to documents obtained by the Guardian. . . .
Anarchist Extremism, By Any Means Necessary, Civil Rights, Civil Rights Organizations, Domestic Terrorism, Federal Bureau of Investigation, First Amendment, FOIA Requests, Ku Klux Klan, Law Enforcement, Neo-Nazis, Police Brutality, Property of the People, Rape and Sexual Assault, Sacramento, Surveillance, Traditionalist Worker Party, White Supremacists
AP News March 12, 2018
WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government censored, withheld or said it couldn’t find records sought by citizens, journalists and others more often last year than at any point in the past decade, according to an Associated Press analysis of new data.
The calculations cover eight months under President Donald Trump, the first hints about how his administration complies with the Freedom of Information Act. . . .
Freedom of Information Act Requests, Trump Administration, Government Transparency
Sunshine Week: The Pathetic Story of One Request for Total Info Awareness
Wired, Ryan Singel, 03.13.07 01:23 PM
This week is Sunshine Week, an open government initiative sponsored by American Society of Newspaper Editors, that celebrates and advocates for more transparency in American government, especially as it relates to official requests for documents from government agencies. So this might be a good time to talk about my long-standing Freedom of Information Act request that the government has stymied, lost and bounced from component to component.
In the fall of 2002, a government plan to root around in every conceivable database – public or private – on Americans' daily lives to find possible terrorists began gathering attention from journalists. The research project, known as Total Information Awareness, was spearheaded by Adm. John Poindexter of Iran-Contra fame and was eventually largely killed off by Congress (portions of the effort went into the Pentagon's black budget and was allowed to be developed so long as only foreigners were targeted by the system).
But prior to that, the program was tested using some interesting data sets. For example, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or Darpa, told Congress that it had tested some data-mining tools on information gleaned during the war in Afghanistan. Darpa also said that it had created an entire fake world of data – 10 million fake people buying fake things with fake credit cards, fake people emailing other fake people, etc. In a later interview, Poindexter called this "Vanilla World." Into this morass of data, Darpa would insert fake "red teams" – fake terrorists plotting with other fake terrorists for some nefarious fake terrorist attack.
Fascinating. So on July 8, 2003, I used the Freedom of Information Act to ask for documents about the testing and for documents about privacy protections in TIA. Though I've filed many FOIAs in my life, little did I know what I was getting into by asking Darpa to turn over information... . . .
Congress, DARPA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Federal, Freedom of Information Act Requests, Government Transparency, Total Information Awareness System, Wired
Accoustic Energy, Bioeffects, "Bioeffects of Selected Nonlethal Weapons", Department of the Army, Directed Energy Weapons, Electromagnetic Radiation, Electromagnetic Weapons, Executive Orders, Freedom of Information Act Requests, Frey Effect, Lasers, Medical, Microwave, Microwave Auditory Effect, Microwave Hearing, Microwave Heating, "Nonlethal Technologies Worldwide (NGIC-I 147-101-98)", Nonlethal Weapons, PDF, Sonic Weapons, Voice-to-Skull Technology
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