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DOJ Announces New Methods For Reporting National Security Requests 117

As the NSA metadata collection scandal has developed, a number of technology and communications companies have fought to increase the transparency of the data collection process by publishing reports on how much data government agencies are asking them for. These transparency reports have been limited, however, because most government requests are entwined with a gag order. In a speech two weeks back, President Obama said this would change, and now the Dept. of Justice has announced new, slightly relaxed rules about what information companies can share. According to an email from the U.S. Deputy Attorney General (PDF) to the General Counsel of Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Yahoo, the companies can publish: how many Criminal Process requests they received, how many National Security Letters they received, how many accounts were affected by NSLs, how many Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act orders were received (both for communications content and 'non-content'), and how many customers were targeted by FISA requests. The companies still aren't allowed to give specific numbers, but they can report them in bands of 1,000 — for example, 0-999, 1,000-1,999, etc. Information requests for old services cannot be disclosed for at least six months. The first information requests for a new service cannot be disclosed for two years. The companies also have the option of lumping all the NSL and FISA requests together — if they do that, they can report in bands of 250 instead of 1,000.
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DOJ Announces New Methods For Reporting National Security Requests

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  • by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @04:46PM (#46094215) Homepage Journal
    Mod parent up. This is going on in several European countries, too ( UK, NL ). Congratulations, BTW, for inventing a new terminus technicus: the normalized police state. As much as I hate the thought, I can not but admire the term. Yes, that is what we are going to live in, for the next years.
  • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @05:34PM (#46094693) Journal

    Well, we can certainly act according to whether politicians do anything about this. If none of them strike back at the NSA, then we're screwed, but if some of them take action we can at least reward them.

    Time has the text [] of a resolution the RNC just passed, which calls for action by Republican legislators in very stark terms. The RNC is as "inside the beltway", disconnected from voters, and generally unconcerned with the sort of issues that make Slashdot as it's possible for a human to be, and yet even those buffoons are up in arms about this.

    This is just a call to action, not a bill, but the RNC is usually who the GOP listens to instead of the voters. I'll quote the whole thing below, but they outright call these programs unconstitutional and they call for them to end, with no mention of national security or terrorism. They're also using interesting language: calling for review in a public court, not a secret court.

    Let's see whether the DNC does something similar, and what congresscritters do as a result. I'd actually be surprised if there isn't at least a bill voted on to end these programs, which if voters actually care they could hold their local critter to accout for.

    Resolution to Renounce the National Security Agency's Surveillance Program

    WHEREAS, the secret surveillance program called PRISM targets, among other things, the surveillance of U.S. citizens on a vast scale and monitors searching habits of virtually every American on the internet;

    WHEREAS, this dragnet program is, as far as we know, the largest surveillance effort ever launched by a democratic government against its own citizens, consisting of the mass acquisition of Americans' call details encompassing all wireless and landline subscribers of the country's three largest phone companies;

    WHEREAS, every time an American citizen makes a phone call, the NSA gets a record of the location, the number called, the time of the call and the length of the conversation, all of which are an invasion into the personal lives of American citizens that violates the right of free speech and association afforded by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution;

    WHEREAS, the mass collection and retention of personal data is in itself contrary to the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, that warrants shall issue only upon probable cause, and generally prevents the American government from issuing modern-day writs of assistance;

    WHEREAS, unwarranted government surveillance is an intrusion on basic human rights that threatens the very foundations of a democratic society and this program represents a gross infringement of the freedom of association and the right to privacy and goes far beyond even the permissive limits set by the Patriot Act; and

    WHEREAS, Republican House Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, an author of the Patriot Act and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee at the time of Section 215's passage, called the Section 215 surveillance program "an abuse of that law," writing that, "based on the scope of the released order, both the administration and the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court are relying on an unbounded interpretation of the act that Congress never intended," therefore be it

    RESOLVED, the Republican National Committee encourages Republican lawmakers to enact legislation to amend Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make it clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity, phone records and correspondence -- electronic, physical, and otherwise -- of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and tha

  • Re:First amendment (Score:4, Informative)

    by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Tuesday January 28, 2014 @05:55PM (#46094907)
    And since "terrorist threat" is not an extraordinary circumstance (went nine years without going below "yellow: elevated risk" []) that clearly wouldn't apply. It's an ordinary circumstance, our rights are being infringed, not temporarily suspended for an important cause.

    Case in point: the patriot act is being used for the war on drugs, not the war on terrorism. [] If anyone believes that national security requests aren't likewise being used for very very ordinary law enforcement scams or industrial espionage... well then they probably can't understand most of the words in this post.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.