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
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