High Res Photo of Jennifer Granick
Photo credit: Michael Sugrue
The Internet is under threat, mostly from governments. We need companies to help people stand up to government threats, but companies cannot solve the problems for us. This is what I told the audience on Thursday, at an event co-hosted by CIS and the Program on Liberation Technology.
Tomorrow, all five members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about their recent report concluding that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk collection of phone records under section 215 is illegal and ill-advised. Meanwhile, the PCLOB is gearing up to report in a few months its conclusions regarding mass surveillance of the content of Internet transactions under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act
Today, Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society joins Greenpeace, Mozilla, Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Libertarian Party, and an array of ideologically diverse groups in The Day We Fight Back against mass surveillance.
Yesterday, I wrote generally about the problems with section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA). Today I focus on categories of information—including content—that NSA collects under section 702 but maybe never minimizes—meaning one of the few safeguards for U.S. person privacy is non-existent. In short, since the thirteen-page 702 minimization procedures only apply to communications, and since today's NSA probably excludes unshared cloud-stored data from the definition of communications, it's possible no minimization rules apply to protect American privacy.
I've written a lot about the problems with the FISA Amendments Act and section 702, which is the legal basis for the PRISM surveillance program and involves warrantless collection of communications contents via targeting non-U.S. individuals or entities reasonably believed to be located abroad.
Last week, we argued that the public discussion surrounding two of the government’s most controversial mass surveillance programs – PRISM and Upstream – has not sufficiently acknowledged the broad scope of collection under these programs, which take place under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). In short, hiding behind the counterterrorism justifications for section 702 is a broad surveillance program that sucks up massive amounts of irrelevant private data.
The legal authority behind the controversial PRISM and Upstream surveillance programs used by the NSA to collect large swaths of private communications from leading Internet companies – Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) – is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2017. In recent months, Congress began to review these programs to assess whether to renew, reform, or retire section 702. Unfortunately, it appears the debate has already been skewed by misconceptions about the true scope of surveillance conducted under the contentious provision.
Come meet CIS and hear about our exciting work and ways to get involved.