High Res Photo of Jennifer Granick
Photo credit: Michael Sugrue
Today’s reporting by the Intercept calls into question whether the NSA minimizes so-called metadata relating to Americans’ digital communications and telephone calls. This is one of the questions I implored the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) to get to the bottom of. It is a question that PCLOB Chairman David Medine thought the Board had a definitive—affirmative--answer to. But today’s story shows doubt still plagues our understanding of how the NSA’s information collection affects American privacy.
TL;DR: A little bit, but not enough.
Yesterday, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) issued a massive report about the legally and technologically complicated government surveillance program operating under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act
Today, the Eleventh Circuit rejected the exceedingly common law enforcement practice of warrantlessly tracking suspects’ physical location using cell phone tower data. The opinion, United States v. Davis, is both welcome and overdue. Defendants who have and will be physically tracked without a warrant have new legal support to challenge that surveillance.
On Friday, Congress will vote on a mutated version of security threat sharing legislation that had previously passed through the House and Senate. These earlier versions would have permitted private companies to share with the federal government categories of data related to computer security threat signatures. Companies that did so would also receive legal immunity from liability under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and other privacy laws.
Here’s the latest in the encryption case we’ve been writing about in which the Justice Department is asking Magistrate Judge James Orenstein to order Apple to unlock a criminal defendant’s passcode-protected iPhone. The government seized and has authority to search the phone pursuant to a search warrant.
Pending before federal magistrate judge James Orenstein is the government’s request for an order obligating Apple, Inc. to unlock an iPhone and thereby assist prosecutors in decrypting data the government has seized and is authorized to search pursuant to a warrant.
Last week, we wrote about an order from a federal magistrate judge in New York that questioned the government’s ability, under an ancient federal law called the All Writs Act, to compel Apple to decrypt a locked device which the government had seized and is authorized to search pursuant to a warrant.
"Jennifer Granick, surveillance and cybersecurity counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), noted that “increasingly, modern surveillance is mass surveillance” which can be facilitated by new technologies and the internet.
Secretive large scale surveillance differs from warrant-directed searches by the volume and depth of data and could be abetted by the ease of converting in-home appliances with microphones and cameras into “surveillance machines”, she said."
"Even Hutchins’s defenders say if he’s guilty some punishment is in order, but his prosecution also sends a mixed message. Hutchins had been a model of public-private cooperation at a time when the government was having difficulty recruiting cybersecurity talent. (James Comey irritated the community in 2014 when he said the FBI struggled to hire people because “some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview.”) Some security researchers said they would stop sharing information with the government in protest.
"“The law is clearly targeted at economic activity and is being applied to an entirely different category to suppress speech,” said Jennifer Granick, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union."
"“This sanctions law, which was written for one purpose,” said Jennifer Stisa Granick, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology project, “is being used to suppress speech with little consideration of the free expression values and the special risks of blocking speech, as opposed to blocking commerce or funds as the sanctions was designed to do. That’s really problematic.”"
"Jennifer Granick, a lawyer with the ACLU’s technology division, said that abuses of power will become unavoidable if companies continue to face pressure to moderate their content.
“It's not a surprise that Twitter employees have this capability,” Granick said. “The public and Congress have been demanding that the platform companies create the ability to ban people from the platform or delete particular messages.”"
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