[Libs-Or] INFORMATION: When the watchdog whimpers: new report proposes no legal fixes for NSA’s warrantless “702” surveillance program

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 3 16:55:15 PDT 2014


When the watchdog whimpers: new report proposes no legal fixes for NSA’s
warrantless “702” surveillance program
Posted on July 2, 2014 by Adam Eisgrau

Created as an independent federal agency by Congress in 2007 to safeguard
the public’s privacy and civil liberties in the wake of 9/11, the Privacy
and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) <http://www.pclob.gov/about-us>
has just adopted and published its second major report on the most invasive
government surveillance programs.

The first, released in January of 2014
virtually growled its disapproval of the “bulk collection” of telephone
metadata of millions of Americans under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act,
which it criticized as highly intrusive and largely ineffective in
promoting national security.  The Board’s second report was approved and
released today. According to ALA coalition partner experts at the
Electronic Frontier Foundation
however, this second effort is as “anemic” when it comes to protecting
personal privacy as the first was robust. In “Report on the Surveillance
Program Operated Pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act,
for example:

The board skips over the essential privacy problem with the . . . program:
that the government has access to or is acquiring nearly all communications
that travel over the Internet. The board focuses only on the government’s
methods for searching and filtering out unwanted information. This ignores
the fact that the government is collecting and searching through the
content of millions of emails, social networking posts, and other Internet
communications, steps that occur before the PCLOB analysis starts.

Further, despite the dictates of the Fourth Amendment, the Board
essentially endorses the use of general warrants to search through the
content of unimaginable numbers of communications of millions of Americans
in broad pursuit of “foreign intelligence” here and abroad.  The report
“takes no position” on the NSA’s claimed exception to the warrant
requirement when the government seeks foreign intelligence.  As EFF notes,
“The Supreme Court has never found this exception.”

Concluding that the sweeping Section 702 program is “clearly authorized by
Congress, reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, and an extremely valuable
and effective intelligence tool,” PCLOB doesn’t propose a single
legislative change to better protect Americans’ privacy in its new report.
 Rather, the Board suggests that the NSA voluntarily adopt a number of
“procedures” intended to increase transparency and accountability.

*Not good enough.*  As ALA Washington Office executive director, Emily
Sheketoff, made clear in a press statement this morning:

“While we respect the Board’s efforts, its recommendations are a serious
disappointment.  Weaker than many Congressional calls for action to reform
Section 702 from across the political spectrum, and at odds in part with
respected jurists, PCLOB’s recommendations should be considered an absolute
floor for 702 reform and a spur to immediate and broad legislative
expansion. ALA’s 57,000 members will continue to fight for nothing less.”

Sign up now for more information
<http://www.districtdispatch.org/textalerts/> about how you can help push
critical Section 702 reforms through the House and give them wings in the

*Further Background*

Report: Oversight Board Finds Little Wrong With NSA Surveillance Program
<http://www.wired.com/2014/07/privacy-report-on-nsa-spying/>, *Wired *July
2, 2014

Government Privacy Watchdog Signs Off on Much of NSA Warrantless
Wiretapping Program
ACLU Blog July 2, 2014


*Diedre Conkling*

*Lincoln County Library DistrictP.O. Box 2027Newport, OR 97365Phone & Fax:
541-265-3066Work email**: **diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org*
<diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org>
*Home email: **diedre08 at gmail.com* <diedre08 at gmail.com>

 “If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change
your attitude.”―Maya Angelou
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