Publications

A Sunset Is A Beautiful Thing

Author(s): 
Jennifer Granick
Publication Date: 
May 28, 2015
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

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. Read more » about A Sunset Is A Beautiful Thing

Siri Is Judging You

Author(s): 
Ryan Calo
Publication Date: 
May 26, 2015
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

In a fresh and recent whitepaper, Brookings Institution senior fellow Benjamin Wittes and law student Jodie Liu turn the standard privacy argument on its head: as they see it, many supposed threats to our privacy actually benefit it. Read more » about Siri Is Judging You

The Intelligence Time Machine

Author(s): 
Marshall Erwin
Publication Date: 
April 30, 2015
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

On Tuesday, members in the House and Senate introduced new versions of the USA Freedom Act that would prohibit bulk collection of records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the FISA pen register authority, and national security letter statutes. The legislation, if passed, would result in significant changes to the National Security Agency’s bulk phone records program, raising questions about the impact such prohibitions could have on the Intelligence Community (IC). This makes it a good time to revisit analyses of the utility of bulk collection programs. Read more » about The Intelligence Time Machine

Not ‘digital exhaust;’ rather ‘digital fossils’

Author(s): 
Brian Nussbaum
Publication Date: 
April 27, 2015
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Recently a member of Congress got into some pretty serious hot water over allegations he accepted numerous unethical, and perhaps illegal, favors including flights on airplanes.  The Associated Press, which broke the story, documented these flights in several different ways, but perhaps the most interesting was by examining the location data embedded in pictures that the lawmaker posted on his Instagram account.  This “metadata” (data about data) exposed the locations of the politician, who was an inveterate social media documenter of his travels, when the pictures were taken.  The story is Read more » about Not ‘digital exhaust;’ rather ‘digital fossils’

Surveillance forces journalists to think and act like spies

Author(s): 
Tom Lowenthal
Publication Date: 
April 27, 2015
Publication Type: 
Other Writing

Once upon a time, a journalist never gave up a confidential source. When someone comes forward, anonymously, to inform the public, it's better to risk time incarcerated than give them up. This ethical responsibility was also a practical and professional necessity. If you promise anonymity, you're obliged to deliver. If you can't keep your word, who will trust you in the future? Sources go elsewhere and stories pass you by.

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