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Tag Archive: Fourth Amendment

Opponents of Closing Sec. 702’s Backdoor Search Loophole are Distorting How the Fix Works

With less than five months to go until Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) expires, we still do not have a clear path forward to a reauthorization that would also address the law’s substantial problems.  A major reason for this is an impasse on what to do about the law’s most significant flaw: that it permits the government to seek out the content of Americans’ communications that have been swept up through Section 702 without any suspicion of wrongdoing, let alone a warrant, a problem known as “the backdoor search loophole.” Unfortunately, opponents of reforming the loophole have either failed to understand how the proposed fix to the loophole would actually work, or are describing it inaccurately in an effort to discredit reform.…   continue »

Reforming Surveillance In the Age of Donald Trump

An NSA site in Germany.

On Wednesday, the Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes (R-CA), gave a press conference in which he reported that Trump transition team members’ communications were intercepted by US intelligence agencies through “incidental collection.” This follows on Nunes’ concerns, after Michael Flynn stepped down following intelligence reports that he had talked to the Russian ambassador.…   continue »

Incidental Collection Is Extremely Troubling, Regardless of Legality

A lot of ink has been spilled over statements by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Nunes that President Trump’s communications were incidentally collected pursuant to a surveillance order under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). This has a lot of Americans scratching their heads and asking what incidental collection is, so now seemed like a good time to explain.…   continue »

Encryption Backdoors, Vault 7, and the Jurassic Park Rule of Internet Security

Surely without a hint of irony, just a day after WikiLeaks dumped a vault-load of documents detailing the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of hacking tools and software exploits, FBI Director James Comey told an audience at a Boston College conference on cybersecurity that “[t]here is no such thing as absolute privacy in America.” Comey’s elevator pitch in support of his claim was that “there is no place outside of judicial reach,” citing the fact that even time-tested testimonial privileges of the spousal, clergy–penitent, and attorney–client sort can be pierced by judges in “appropriate” circumstances.…   continue »

It Ain’t Easy Getting a FISA Warrant: I Was an FBI Agent and Should Know

 

In his latest round of twiplash, President Trump on Saturday leveled a very serious accusation: that President Obama had personally ordered the “tapping” of telephone lines in Trump Tower in the months leading up to the November 2016 election. His tweets (scarily) reveal more about what he believes the office of the President is capable of than the reality of what the law allows.…   continue »