- 4/9, Joseph Menn, Reuters, Exclusive: Homeland Security deputy to quit; defended civilian Internet role
- 4/9, Bloomberg News, Newsday, Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act gains personal data controls to win Obama support
- 4/8, Janet Napolitano, Politico, Cyber education key to security
- 4/8, Angela Woodall, Mercury News, Homeland Security anti-terror money in Bay Area funds drones, surveillance and emergency equipment
- 4/8, Natasha Lennard, Salon, EFF and ACLU team up against CISPA
- 4/8, Ken Hanly, Digital Journal, Op-Ed: UN High Commisionner claims Guantanamo violates international law
- 4/8, Brendan Sasso and Jennifer Martinez, The Hill, Privacy groups skeptical of CISPA changes
- 4/7, Christopher Robbins, Gothamist, Ray Kelly Changed “Nothing” About How NYPD Spies On Muslims
Posts Tagged ‘Internet’
This week, BORDC participated in the week of action against CISPA,the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. Participants ranged from civil liberties advocates to major companies. Craigslist, Firefox, and Reddit all displayed anti-CISPA messages that allowed users to connect with online action opportunities. Since the week of action began, the list of supporters has continued to grow daily.
As we wrote several weeks ago, CISPA is back in front of Congress after it elicited significant opposition from the privacy and civil liberties world last year. Even those who argue that some form of cybersecurity is needed acknowledge that there are serious flaws in CISPA as written. The bill is riddled with problematic provisions, including immunity from civil or criminal liability for companies who share users’ private information with the government, the ability to use intelligence information information they receive from the government for reasons completely unrelated to cybersecurity, including commercial purposes, and authorization to share information directly with the National Security Agency.
While many of the major corporations that supported the bill last year have maintained that support, there is one noteable absence: Facebook. While the company has not come out in vocal opposition, Facebook reps did tell Cnet that the company: “prefer[s] a legislative ‘balance’ that ensures ‘the privacy of our users.’” Microsoft is also absent from the list of CISPA supporters this year, while other big corporations like AT&T and IBM continue to support the legislation.
That support has not only taken the form of letters sent to the House Intelligence Committee. One of the sponsors of the bill, Rep. Mike Rogers (MI-08-R) made a major gaffe this week. He retweeted a a story that revealed that members of the House Intelligence Committee “have received, on average, 15 times more money in campaign contributions from pro-CISPA organizations than from anti-CISPA organizations.” He deleted his tweet 23 minutes later, but not before the Sunlight Foundation got a screen shot of it. His tweet is a prime example of why CISPA is so concerning; it is being driven by the lobbying of corporations with horrible privacy track records that will be shielded from liability and potentially make millions off shared information.
At this point, it is likely that a vote on CISPA will take place in mid-April, which means there is still plenty of time to contact your representative to tell them what you know about the bill. Be sure to watch our blog, as well as BORDC ally EFF’s homepage for continuing updates.
- 12/17, Robert Johnson, Business Insider, ‘Did We Just Kill A Kid?’ — Six Words That Ended A US Drone Pilot’s Career
- 12/17, Tony Romm, Politico, End is near for surveillance law powers
- 12/17, John W. Whitehead, Rutherford Institute, EyeSee You and the Internet of Things: Watching You While You Shop
- 12/17, Lyle Denniston, Business Insider, Obama Finally Gave Up On Trying To Control Guantanamo Bay Detainees’ Access To Their Lawyers
- 12/17, Noah Shachtman, Wired, How Joe Biden Accidentally Helped Us All E-Mail in Private
- 11/19, Joe Davidson, Washington Post, New report finds old problem: DHS has morale issues
- 11/17, Jerry Stinson, Press-Telegram, Report on torture must be made public to Americans
- 11/16, Evgeny Morozov, New York Times Opinion Pages, You Can’t Say That on the Internet
- 11/16, Nicole Perlroth, New York Times, Trying to Keep Your E-Mails Secret When the C.I.A. Chief Couldn’t
- 11/16, Mark Clayton, Christian Science Monitor, Senate cybersecurity bill fails, so Obama could take charge
As the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street approaches, the enormous protests of 2011 and early 2012 seem almost a distant memory. Camps across the country have been dismantled, and public demonstrations have dwindled in size and media coverage. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the repressive responses of local and federal law enforcement have indisputably contributed. From the beginning, the violence of police tactics on the street shocked the public. What has been less apparent, but equally ubiquitous, is the extensive surveillance and harassment of Occupy by law enforcement.
In November of last year, the National Lawyers Guild, Michael Moore, and the Partnership for Civil Justice filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit with five federal agencies requesting information on surveillance of Occupy. This request resulted in hundreds of pages of responsive documents in which federal law enforcement discuss tactics and responses. Local law enforcement also conducted surveillance. A recent report from New York University and Fordham University stated that surveillance by the New York Police Department of Occupy Wall Street had been constant and ubiquitous, and was accompanied by interrogation and intimidation. In fact, the NYPD may have violated legal restrictions on intelligence gathering in New York.
As if this surveillance were not enough, law enforcement has turned to the internet to gather more information. Aden Fine of the American Civil Liberties Union notes, in reference to a legal battle in which Twitter has sough to squash a subpoena requiring it to turn over a user’s information:
“ Law enforcement agencies—both the federal government and state and city entities—are becoming increasingly aggressive in their attempts to obtain information about what people are doing on the Internet.”
A bill called the Free Speech Act of 2012 has been introduced by Senator Jon Kyl (R-AR). Its purpose is “to prevent so called ‘Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation’ (SLAPP) that attempt to censor and chill First Amendment protected speech.”
Anti-SLAPP laws are intended to stop defamation lawsuits—frequently filed by plaintiffs with deep pockets—that have little to no chance of winning, yet are aimed at pressuring the target into settling for fear of expensive litigation.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), while this is a good start, the bill is “written too narrowly.”
The provision only applies to “a representative of the news media,” and may not include bloggers, citizens journalists or other commentators on the Internet who need this protection the most.
Senator Kyl introduced the bill by saying:
The Free Press Act of 2012 responds to a number of recent incidents in which defamation lawsuits have been used to try to squelch criticism of particular groups and individuals…
The EFF Action Center has a page where you can “send your representative a message encouraging them to support anti-SLAPP legislation, such as the PETITION Act.”
Twitter has filed an appeal regarding a decision back in June that ruled the company had to turn over detailed information on Twitter user Malcom Harris to the Manhattan District Attorney. Harris, an Occupy Wall Street protestor, was charged with disorderly conduct during a march on the Brooklyn Bridge.
The ACLU will be filing a friend of the court brief as well. The ACLU believes that:
(u)nder the First and Fourth Amendments, we have the right to speak freely on the Internet, safe in the knowledge that the government cannot obtain information about our communications or our private information unless law enforcement first satisfies First Amendment scrutiny and obtains a warrant showing probable cause. The DA didn’t do that here. Instead, it has tried to avoid these constitutional hurdles by issuing a mere subpoena for Harris’s Twitter information.
The original decision held that:
…people like Harris can’t even go to court to protect their own constitutional rights when it comes to the Internet because, according to the court, we give up our constitutional rights whenever we provide information to a third-party Internet service like Twitter.
Even more disturbing:
(T)he court affirmed its earlier ruling that people like Harris can’t even go to court to protect their own constitutional rights when it comes to the Internet because, according to the court, we give up our constitutional rights whenever we provide information to a third-party Internet service like Twitter.
In addition, Harris has filed his own appeal.
Director of National Intelligence and FISA Court admit warrantless surveillance violated Fourth AmendmentMonday, August 13, 2012 at 6:27 pm by Kaila C. Randolph
Last month, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) wrote a letter to James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, alleging that the federal government may be reviewing e-mails and phone calls of law-abiding Americans. In his response, Dir. Clapper explained his awareness of “at least one occasion” where the federal government violated the Fourth Amendment’s limitation on unreasonable searches and seizures in using its police power to wiretap and surveillance individuals without a warrant. In fact, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (“FISA”) Court found that “some collection carried out pursuant to the Section 702 minimization procedures used by the government were unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”
The intelligence office also informed Sen. Wyden that the Obama Administration has addressed any concerns and the government’s efforts regarding intelligence continue to undergo close scrutiny from both Congress and the FISA Court, which considers government requests for electronic surveillance and physical searches of foreigners in the U.S., currently suspected of engaging in terrorism or espionage. The surveillance violated the Fourth Amendment but the “government claims it has “remedied” the FISA Court’s worries regarding the Fourth Amendment violation and will continue to “lawfully collect e-mails and phone calls.”
The FISA Court was established under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which provides an extension to the federal government’s use of wiretapping after September 11th, permitting the government to collect e-mail or phone communications made when at least one party is suspected to be outside of the U.S., therefore no longer requiring a warrant. Dir. Clapper explained, the federal statute “allows the Intelligence Community to collect vital information about international terrorists and other important targets overseas while providing robust protection for the civil liberties and privacy of Americans.” The government collects most of their intelligence regarding cell and phone calls, e-mails and texts through cooperation with large communication companies, such as AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are two of the most controversial pieces of legislation of the past year. Signed by President Obama last December, the NDAA authorizes the military to indefinitely detain anyone accused of being a terrorist or offering “material support.” This includes American citizens.
Meanwhile, SOPA (and it Senate version, the Protect IP Act, PIPA) would have blocked domain names and cut off funds to websites that were accused of infringing copyright. However, a national backlash to “Stop SOPA” forced Congress to table those bills.
Recognizing the grassroots thirst for stronger stands to protect liberties, a diverse array of candidates has emerged across the nation — including Democrats, Republicans, and independents — campaigning against the NDAA and SOPA.
Early last week Obama signed his latest executive order, better preparing our nation’s communications in case of emergency, yet also imbuing alarming new authority in the hands of the presidency.
Entitled the “Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Communications Functions”, Obama’s order exists to transfer control over communications as well as the internet to the presidency in times of emergency. As section 5.2 of the order stipulates, the Secretary of Homeland Security will “oversee the development, testing, implementation, and sustainment” of emergency measures on systems that include private “non-military communications networks.” This greatly expands President Obama’s control over privately owned telecommunications and indeed the internet.
In addition to the concerns over the expansion of executive authority, critics worry the vague wording of this order leaves too much room for abuse. With no definitive limit on when these powers can be implemented, what is to prevent the president from using these powers for political gains or to squash dissent?
Lastly, by creating such authority through executive order, Obama bipassed the will and powers of Congress. While the possibility of constructing these powers were proposed in both a cybersecurity bill from 2009 and in the CyberSecurity Act of 2012; ultimately, in both cases it was decided not to expand the president’s reach.
The Executive Order will become law on August 5th.