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. . . .
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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
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