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.
Today, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) announced that it would stop some of the surveillance it conducts on the telecommunications backbone under authority granted by section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.
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.
"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.”"