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Tag Archive: Fourth Amendment

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 »

Just Security Event: Surveillance and the Trump Administration

Join Just Security for a fireside chat on U.S. surveillance and a celebration of Jennifer Granick‘s new book, American Spies: Modern Surveillance, Why You Should Care, And What to Do About It. Opening remarks by Senator Ron Wyden, followed by a discussion between Granick and Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times Washington Correspondent Charlie Savage on U.S.…   continue »

The Ninth Circuit’s Constitutional Detour in Mohamud

listening

 

The Ninth Circuit’s decision in United States v. Mohamud continues a trend of disappointing decisions by lower courts on the constitutionality of FISA Section 702 surveillance. There are many bones to pick with these decisions (see Jennifer Daskal’s earlier analysis here), but the most glaring flaw is the fundamental misunderstanding and misapplication of the “incidental overhear” doctrine.…   continue »

Correcting the Record on Section 702: A Prerequisite for Meaningful Surveillance Reform, Part III

In our previous posts, we’ve argued that the NSA is collecting massive amounts of data about US citizens under conditions that have nothing to do with terrorism or national security, thanks to the authorities granted to the US government by section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.…   continue »