July 2013

  1. New docs reveal NSA’s “widest-reaching” surveillance system, X-KEYSCORE

    In this latest development on NSA surveillance, we find discover yet another instance where intelligence officials lied to the public regarding NSA surveillance capabilities:   “I, sitting at my desk,” said Snowden, could “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email”. US […]

  2. Important decision from New Jersey Supreme Court finds reasonable expectation of privacy in cell location information under state constitution

    Money quote from the NJ Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion in the case, State v. Earls:   [C]ell phones can be pinpointed with great precision, but courts are not adept at calculating a person’s legitimate expectation of privacy with mathematical certainty. What is clear is that cell phones are not meant to serve as tracking devices […]

  3. NSA: No, seriously though, the rule of law means nothing to us…

    First, a brief word about the Amash LIBERT-E amendment. The  amendment, which would have defunded PRISM, garnered an astonishing 205 votes today in the face of both parties’ leadership banding together to oppose the amendment.   Among the amendment’s supporters? James Sensenbrenner, author of the “Patriot” Act. This shows that, despite the wishcasting of many a […]

  4. “Mood shifting” in Congress on NSA domestic spying

    Remember back when Politico assured us that “Snowden’s nightmare is coming true”–that is, there was ostensibly no “groundswell of opposition” to the NSA’s invasion of privacy? That was mere wishcasting from the beginning; neither Snowden nor anyone else thought such a leviathonesque beast could be toppled at the drop of a hat.   It was […]

  5. FISA star chamber “court” renews telephone surveillance program

    Not that we could have expected any differently. With a second Supreme Court, unaccountable and hand-picked to believe the right things, providing judicial “oversight” to these programs, the renewal story is more or less of the “man bites dog” variety. Nevertheless, it is important to continually highlight the government’s arrogant flouting of due process and […]

  6. Man charged with illegally firing shotgun defends: “Biden told me to”

    Off-topic from the usual law and tech posts in this space, but it is, as Allahpundit over at Hotair would say, a great “palate cleanser.” This story will brighten your day; it has certainly made mine. Happy Thursday:   “I did what Joe Biden told me to do,” Barton told KOIN. “I went outside and […]

  7. Excellent piece on Library of Law and Liberty: “Time to End FISA’s Star Chamber Court”

    A little taste (bold added):   Prior to FISA, the intelligence bureaucracies’ actions, although unquestionable a priori because undertaken secretly, could always be questioned ex post facto. Once FISA became law, the claim that any given act was good because it was lawful would make substantive questioning more difficult. In the ABA debate, I also […]

  8. Randy Barnett: PRISM is unconstitutional.

    Really great piece concisely detailing an argument very similar to the one I’ve been making since the NSA’s intrusion on privacy came to light: By banning unreasonable “seizures” of a person’s “papers,” the Fourth Amendment clearly protects what we today call “informational privacy.” Rather than seizing the private papers of individual citizens, the NSA and […]

  9. DEF CON organizers to feds: “You are on a time-out, and you can ask NSA why that is.”

    DEF CON, the prominent annual security and hacker convention, has asked federal employees to take a “time-out,” citing “recent revelations” as antithetical to the ethics of the hacker community–a clear reference to NSA’s egregious disregard for civil liberties. This move marks a reversal from past policies of welcoming any and all technologically literate individuals, regardless […]