As the sprawling surveillance site being constructed by the National Security Agency (NSA) in Utah grows larger and nearer completion every day, the domestic spy service remains tightlipped about just how much and what kind of personal electronic data they have already collected and collated. Not only does the NSA refuse to provide such information, it insists that it cannot be forced to.
In July of 2011 and again in May 2012, Senators Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) wrote a letter to James R. Clapper, Jr., the Director of National Intelligence, asking him a series of four questions regarding the activities of the NSA and other intelligence agencies regarding domestic surveillance.
Reports indicate that the Department of Defense is creating autonomous cyber weapons, which are being used against foreign entities, such as Iran, but will also in all likelihood be used against Americans.
The British government is proposing a bill that would force communications providers to log details of every e-mail, telephone call, and text message in the U.K. and make this information available to law enforcement on request.
In efforts to intimidate and suppress the speech of prominent conservative bloggers, opponents are implementing a decade-old technique called “SWAT-ing,” which involves prank callers phoning law-enforcement authorities and reporting a violent crime at someone’s home. The pranksters generally camouflage their actual phone numbers — by making them appear to originate from the victim’s home — leading SWAT teams to be dispatched to a person’s residence.
At a pre-trial hearing on Wednesday, lawyers for PFC Bradley Manning submitted a motion requesting that 10 of the 22 charges against their client be dropped. Specifically, Manning’s legal team argued for dismissal of eight specifications of having violated the Espionage Act, as well as two charges of exceeding authorized access.
Following a high-profile legal battle that raged on for more than a year and a half, the British Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be extradited to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in a bizarre sex-crime investigation that his supporters say is politically motivated. However, the high court also gave the pro-transparency activist’s lawyers two weeks to contest the ruling.
Despite an increasingly noisy chorus of resistance to many of its provisions, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passed the House, 248-168, on April 26. Passage in the House was assured with more than 70 percent of those supported by the Tea Party voting for it. It moved to an uncertain future in the Senate.
The opposition noted that the bill’s many flaws included precious little “protection” for rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, especially those guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by the Obama administration of an appeals court decision granting standing to the ACLU to challenge the NSA's domestic wiretapping program.
Last the week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) aimed at discovering the content of all electronic correspondence between Google and the National Security Agency (NSA).
The judge presiding in the case against Army Private Bradley Manning has ruled that all 22 charges against him will stand, including the charge of "aiding the enemy." However, he also warned the military attorneys prosecuting the case that they must prove that Manning knew he was helping the enemy or that particular charge could be thrown out.