Report of a discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on the policy challenges in balancing homeland security and wider freedoms. The discussion focuses upon domestic surveillance activities in the US and the implication for civil liberties.
This report considers data mining in the context of homeland security. Data mining can be a potential means to identify terrorist activities, such as money transfers and communications, and to identify and track individual terrorists themselves, such as through travel and immigration records. It examines the degree to which government agencies should use and mix commercial data with government data, whether data sources are being used for purposes other than those for which they were originally designed, and possible application of the Privacy Act to these initiatives. It is anticipated that congressional oversight of data mining projects will grow as data mining efforts continue to evolve.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) brought this lawsuit against the National Security Agency "for violating the U.S. Constitution. The illegal NSA spying program authorized by President Bush just after September 11, 2001, allows the NSA to intercept vast quantities of the international telephone and Internet communications of innocent Americans without court approval."
The House and Senate have each passed USA Patriot Reauthorization Acts, HR 3199 and S 3189. Both make permanent most of the expiring USA Patriot Act sections, occasionally in modified form. After amending two of the more controversial expiring sections, 206 and 215, they postpone their expiration date, S 1389 until December 31, 2009; HR 3199 until December 31, 2015. Both address questions raised as to the constitutionality of various "national security letter" (NSL) statues by providing for review, enforcement and exceptions to the attendant confidentiality requirements in more explicit terms.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.