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Tag Archive: Privacy

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 »

National Security-Related Congressional Hearings, June 12-16

Monday, June 12

7:00pm – House Committee on Armed Services – The Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Budget Request from the Department of Defense (here)

Tuesday, June 13

9:30am – Senate Armed Services Committee – Department of Defense Budget Posture (here)

10:00am – Senate Committee on Foreign Relations – Review of the FY 2018 State Department Budget Request (here)

10:00am – House Foreign Affairs Committee – Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa – Challenges and Opportunities for the U.S.-Saudi Relationship (here)

2:00pm – House Oversight Committee – Subcommittee on Government Operations and Subcommittee on Information Technology – The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) Scorecard 4.0 (here)

2:30pm – Senate Intelligence Committee – Open Testimony of Attorney General of the United States, Jeff Sessions (here)

2:30pm – Senate Committee on Foreign Relations – Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity – State-Sponsored Cyberspace Threats: Recent Incidents and U.S.  continue »

Questions to Ask As DHS Proposes Border Drones With Facial Recognition


In what could prove to be a Frankenstein combination of invasive technologies, the Department of Homeland Security is considering a project to arm Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) with drones using facial recognition scanning at the border. Specifically, the proposal states that “DHS is interested in sUAS [small drone] sensor technology with the following attributes ….…   continue »

Censorship at the Border Threatens Free Speech Everywhere

Defending one’s political and religious beliefs to government officials is an obligation we associate with life in authoritarian regimes, not open societies.  It’s becoming common, though, for foreign citizens who visit the United States—and even for Americans returning home after travel abroad—to be interrogated about their beliefs by customs and border personnel.…   continue »

To Senate Committee on Homeland Security: Five Questions for Secretary Kelly About Passwords Demands at the Border


On January 31, an NASA engineer and U.S. citizen, Sidd Bikkannavar, was informed by federal border agents he hat he was required to turn over the password to his smartphone on his way into the country, that doing so was mandatory, and that if he failed to comply, the phone could be seized.  …   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 »