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The Early Edition: May 25, 2016

Before the start of business, Just Security provides a curated summary of up-to-the-minute developments at home and abroad. Here’s today’s news.


Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada has been appointed as the Taliban’s new chief, following a meeting of leaders in the Pakistani city of Quetta.…   continue »

Surveillance Oversight Should Be President-Proof, But We’re Still a Long Way Off

Last week, at an event co-hosted by Just Security and NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, the NSA’s Civil Liberties and Privacy Director Rebecca Richards dropped the ball. When asked whether Americans should be comfortable with our current surveillance regime should someone like Donald Trump become president, she gave a milquetoast answer obviously intended to comfort the uninitiated.…   continue »

Trump and Torture

Presidential candidate Donald Trump has made headlines with his campaign promise to revive torture as a US government practice. First, with his signature bluster, Trump declared last November that he would approve waterboarding “in a heartbeat.” He added, “And I would approve more than that.…   continue »

A Readers’ Guide to the Apple All Writs Act Cases

The last few weeks and months have been awash in media coverage of two cases before magistrate judges involving the federal government seeking to use the All Writs Act to compel Apple’s cooperation with ongoing criminal investigations. The older case, in the Eastern District of New York, involves a drug case where the phone’s owner has pleaded guilty to the charges against him.…   continue »

Who Sets the Rules of the Privacy and Security Game?

This post is the latest installment of our “Monday Reflections” feature, in which a different Just Security editor examines the big stories from the previous week or looks ahead to key developments on the horizon.

Last week’s big cybersecurity news was that the FBI obtained a court order to force Apple to develop new software that would bypass several iPhone security features so the FBI can attempt to unlock the work phone of one of the San Bernardino shooters.…   continue »

The New US Anti-Torture Law: A Genuine Step Forward

Just over two months ago, on the day before Thanksgiving, President Obama signed into law an important provision concerning torture that has garnered surprisingly little attention. Maybe it was the buzz of the coming holidays, or perhaps the fact that it was buried in a 584-page bill relating to more mundane fiscal concerns, but limited explanation and analysis has been put forward on this noteworthy act.…   continue »

Why Aren’t Criminal Defendants Getting Notice of Section 702 Surveillance — Again?

Since the Snowden disclosures began, the government’s massive surveillance operations under Section 702 of FISA have increasingly drawn public scrutiny. Section 702 is the authority the government uses to conduct both PRISM and Upstream surveillance — programs that allow the government to warrantlessly search the emails and web-browsing activities of Americans communicating with individuals or websites abroad.…   continue »