Opt out of PRISM, the NSAs global data surveillance program. Stop reporting your online activities to the American government with these free alternatives to proprietary software.
Website set up with a column graph that shows you which online web browsing, social networking, e-mail services and everything else in between, internet programs that do and DO NOT cooperate with NSA’s PRISM data surveillance dragnet.
A federal judge has ruled that Google must comply with the FBI’s warrantless requests for confidential user data, despite the search company’s arguments that the secret demands are illegal.
CNET has learned that U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco rejected Google’s request to modify or throw out 19 so-called National Security Letters, a warrantless electronic data-gathering technique used by the FBI that does not need a judge’s approval. Her ruling came after a pair of top FBI officials, including an assistant director, submitted classified affidavits.
The litigation taking place behind closed doors in Illston’s courtroom — a closed-to-the-public hearing was held on May 10 — could set new ground rules curbing the FBI’s warrantless access to information that Internet and other companies hold on behalf of their users. The FBI issued 192,499 of the demands from 2003 to 2006, and 97 percent of NSLs include a mandatory gag order.
The Justice Department may soon be forced to reveal a classified document that details unconstitutional surveillance of American citizens. The Justice Department has fought to keep the document secret for about a year, but a recent court order demands that they respond to a formal request filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation by next week, June 7, 2013.
This document was first revealed last July by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., to call attention to an expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 2008 — which then-Sen. Barack Obama voted for . According to Wyden, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled that the government violated the Fourth Amendment. The FISC mostly operates in secret, so the actual court decision remained classified. Wyden was only able to say the FISC decision existed; he was unable to disclose any details about the actual surveillance techniques that were deemed unconstitutional or how many Americans they affected.
The EFF took legal action to learn more about the FISC decision. An initial victory in a district court established in the public record that the Justice Department does possess an 86-page FISC decision on unconstitutional surveillance methods that was published Oct. 3, 2011. The decision found that some techniques were “unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment,” and that the court concluded that “on at least one occasion,” the Justice Department “circumvented the spirit of the law.”
The Digital Rights Struggle wont be Televized because dinosaurs would never help the mammals claim the land of thier dominion
On Tuesday, the Texas House added three amendments to the CISPA-like bill flying through the Legislature. Clearly, all the attention now directed at this terrible bill is spurring action by state lawmakers. But the amendments completely fail to address the bill’s serious privacy violations and some make the bill even worse.
This amendment changes the target of government seizures from “an electronic communications service” to a “remote computing service”. All this does is make it more clear that websites not based in Texas are going to be forced to comply with this bill.
The amendment also appears to remove the limit on how far back the state could seize personal records. The bill previously only applied to electronic communication that was less than 180 days old (so it prevented really old fishing expeditions). Under this version of the bill, it appears the government could seize years - or even the totality - of a person’s online communication. This is a terrible change.
The amendment also made an important change by removing the ability of a “Designated law enforcement office or agency” to collect the data, leaving it to authorized peace officers. But this doesn’t improve the bill very much - authorized peace officers are state agents who also should not be empowered with these broad abilities to seize private communications. It removes the ability for some political hack in a specific office or agency to file a request for electronic information - which is a good thing - but doesn’t address the glaring privacy violations in this bill.
The Texas CISPA bill, approved unanimously by the House last week, may be passed by the Legislature within 24 hours. It has been scheduled for a vote on Monday.
The bill, now slightly altered SB 1052 in the Senate, does the following:
- Requires any Internet provider that serves Texans to hand over private communication and files.
- Sets no standard for warrants for such seizures, enabling arbitrary violations of Texans’ privacy.
- Forces Internet providers to respond within 15-30 days (and sometimes 4-30), giving them almost no time to protect information not targeted.
- Makes it a crime for an officer, director or owner of a company to not comply with the request within the 15-30 day window.
- Opens the door to politically-motivated seizures of online communication.
The Obama administration, resolving years of internal debate, is on the verge of backing a Federal Bureau of Investigation plan for a sweeping overhaul of surveillance laws that would make it easier to wiretap people who communicate using the Internet rather than by traditional phone services, according to officials familiar with the deliberations.
The F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, has argued that the bureau’s ability to carry out court-approved eavesdropping on suspects is “going dark” as communications technology evolves, and since 2010 has pushed for a legal mandate requiring companies like Facebook and Google to build into their instant-messaging and other such systems a capacity to comply with wiretap orders. That proposal, however, bogged down amid concerns by other agencies, like the Commerce Department, about quashing Silicon Valley innovation.
While the F.B.I.’s original proposal would have required Internet communications services to each build in a wiretapping capacity, the revised one, which must now be reviewed by the White House, focuses on fining companies that do not comply with wiretap orders. The difference, officials say, means that start-ups with a small number of users would have fewer worries about wiretapping issues unless the companies became popular enough to come to the Justice Department’s attention.
Still, the plan is likely to set off a debate over the future of the Internet if the White House submits it to Congress, according to lawyers for technology companies and advocates of Internet privacy and freedom.
Justice Department agreed to issue ‘2511 letters’ immunizing AT&T and other companies participating in a cybersecurity program from criminal prosecution under the Wiretap Act, according to new documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. Read this article by Declan McCullagh on CNET News.
Senior Obama administration officials have secretly authorized the interception of communications carried on portions of networks operated by AT&T and other Internet service providers, a practice that might otherwise be illegal under federal wiretapping laws.
The secret legal authorization from the Justice Department originally applied to a cybersecurity pilot project in which the military monitored defense contractors’ Internet links. Since then, however, the program has been expanded by President Obama to cover all critical infrastructure sectors including energy, healthcare, and finance starting June 12.
“The Justice Department is helping private companies evade federal wiretap laws,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which obtained over 1,000 pages of internal government documents and provided them to CNET this week. “Alarm bells should be going off.”
Those documents show the National Security Agency and the Defense Department were deeply involved in pressing for the secret legal authorization, with NSA director Keith Alexander participating in some of the discussions personally. Despite initial reservations, including from industry participants, Justice Department attorneys eventually signed off on the project.