The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) provides a statutory framework by which government agencies may, when gathering foreign intelligence information, obtain authorization to conduct wiretapping or physical searches, utilize pen registers and trap and trace devices, or access specified business records and other tangible things.
Facebook and Google have aroused concerns about encroachments on privacy online, but media expert Jeff Jarvis says policymakers need to be careful not to overreact and encroach on the Internet's value as a public sphere and lifeline in closed societies.
Senator Christopher Dodd gave this speech on the Senate floor on December 17, 2007, during a hearing about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He argues that companies have violated their customers' privacy rights in handing over information to the government without warrants and that they should not be granted immunity.
Authors: Elizabeth B. Bazan, Gina Marie Stevens, and Brian T. Yeh
This CRS report focuses on US Government attempts to collect and analyze information on telephone calling patterns within the United States. The report summarizes statutory authorities regarding access by the Government, for either foreign intelligence or law enforcement purposes, to information related to telephone calling patterns or practices, and discusses statutory prohibitions against accessing or disclosing such information, along with relevant exceptions to those prohibitions.
Authors: Gina Marie Stevens and Tara Alexandra Rainson
This CRS report considers the issue of the privacy of cellular telephone records. It discusses recent legislative and regulatory efforts to protect the privacy of customer telephone records, and efforts to prevent the unauthorized use, disclosure, or sale of such records by data brokers. In addition, it provides a brief overview of the confidentiality protections for customer information established by the Communications Act of 1934.
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.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »