High Res Photo of Jennifer Granick
Photo credit: Michael Sugrue
Yesterday's report from the independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, or PCLOB, confirms what Christopher Sprigman and I said back in June of last year in our New York Times Op Ed “The Criminal NSA”. The NSA’s telephone record metadata program, in which it collects the calling records of almost everyone inside the United States, is illegal. Amend that: it’s screamingly illegal. Flat out.
When should courts follow legal precedent and when should the law change? This is a debate that underlies this month’s contrary decisions about the constitutionality of government collection of telephone call metadata under section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. And despite this week’s dual holdings in favor of the government—on this issue and on the issue of laptop border searches—a judicial consensus may be emerging that the Fourth Amendment must evolve along with technology and government surveillance capabilities.
Yesterday, I wrote that the report from the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies--"Liberty And Security In A Changing World”—suggests reforms that would improve U.S. surveillance law’s protection of the rights of foreigners. My non US-person friends seem underwhelmed, so I thought I’d take a moment to elaborate on the changes I’m talking about. Read More.
In the wake of a recent appellate court’s decision that the NSA’s domestic dragnet collection of phone call records is illegal, political support for maintaining the legal provision that the government used to justify the program has all but vanished. For the first time in a dozen years, we have a real chance at ending one of the most abused and misused parts of US surveillance law. Congress should allow section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act to expire.
Last week’s dramatic Second Circuit decision in ACLU v. Clapper, invalidated the alleged legal basis for the NSA domestic phone call dragnet, Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, just weeks before that provision is about to expire.
"“There’s always been employees who have misused the keys,” said ACLU surveillance and cybersecurity counsel Jennifer Granick. She pointed to the tension among some who would prefer that tech platforms censor users' content, whether that’s policing Russian-planted accounts and ads or kicking Trump off Twitter for what they perceive as hate speech. “They’re under extreme pressure from Congress,” she said."
"“Congress has subpoena power, of course,” says Al Gidari, the director of privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, who previously represented several big tech companies in national security cases.
"Albert Gidari, Director of Privacy for the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, told us he agrees with the EFF’s argument:
Asking for metadata on everyone that visits a particular website implicates more than just the particularity required by the 4th Amendment. It implicates the 1st Amendment rights of anyone that visited the site.
"It can be tempting to try to hide information or use technological tricks such as 'duress passwords' that, if used instead of the genuine one, unlock the device but keep a portion of the data hidden and encrypted. But Jennifer Granick, who studies cybersecurity law at Stanford University in California, warns against such strategies. “You don't want to lie to a government agent. That can be a crime.” And border guards are not likely to be sympathetic to the argument that a researcher has a legal duty to prevent anyone from seeing confidential data.
"Jennifer Stisa Granick is an attorney, educator and the director of civil liberties for the Center for Internet and Society (CIS) at Stanford Law School. A prominent advocate for intellectual property law, free speech and privacy, she has represented a number of high-profile hackers, including internet activist Aaron Swartz.
Eight years ago, Barack Obama arrived in Washington pledging to reverse the dramatic expansion of state surveillance his predecessor had presided over in the name of fighting terrorism. Instead, the Obama administration saw the Bush era’s “collect it all” approach to surveillance become still more firmly entrenched. Meanwhile, the advanced spying technologies once limited to intelligence agencies have been gradually trickling down to local police departments.
Join Mozilla and Stanford CIS for the second installment in a series of conversations about government hacking. Information from our first event, discussing the upcoming changes to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41, are available at that event’s page here.
On December 1, 2016, significant and controversial changes to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41 are scheduled go into effect. Today, Rule 41 prohibits a federal judge from issuing a search warrant outside of the judge’s district, with some exceptions.Traditionally, federal judges may only issue warrants that will be executed within their own districts. The revised Rule 41 would permit judges to issue search and seizure warrants for computers outside their jurisdictions, in two circumstances: if the computer’s true location has been hidden through technological means (such as Tor), or, in a computer-hacking investigation under the CFAA, if the affected computers are located in five or more districts.
Stanford CIS brings together scholars, academics, legislators, students, programmers, security researchers, and scientists to study the interaction of new technologies and the law and to examine how the synergy between the two can either promote or harm public goods like free speech, innovation, privacy, public commons, diversity, and scientific inquiry. Come hear CIS Directors Jennifer Granick + Daphne Keller and Resident Fellows Riana Pfefferkorn + Luiz Fernando Marrey Moncau talk about our work, and the assistance CIS provides to students in learning about these issues, selecting courses, identifying job opportunities, and making professional connections.