Articles about mass surveillance

Theresa May

Here we go again... UK Prime Minister urges nerds to come up with magic crypto backdoors

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has reiterated calls for a special magic version of encryption to be developed by technologists so law enforcement can access everyone's communications on demand – and somehow engineer it so that no one else can abuse this backdoor. Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland …
Kieren McCarthy, 25 Jan 2018

America restarts dodgy spying program – just as classified surveillance abuse memo emerges

Analysis The US Senate reauthorized a controversial NSA spying program on Thursday – and then, because it's 2018 and nothing matters any more, embarked on a partisan battle over a confidential memo that outlines Uncle Sam's alleged abuse of surveillance powers. The so-called section 702 FISA snooping system, renewed this week, has been …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Jan 2018

US House reps green-light Fourth Amendment busting spy program

The US House of Representatives has passed a six-year extension to the controversial Section 702 spying program, rejecting an amendment that would have required the authorities to get a warrant before searching for information on US citizens. The 256-164 vote effectively retains the status quo and undermines a multi-year …
Kieren McCarthy, 11 Jan 2018

US senators rail against effort to sneak through creepy mass spying bill

A bipartisan group of US senators have lambasted an effort to force permanent authorization of a controversial warrantless American spying program through Congress by attaching it to an end-of-year spending bill, calling the effort "an end-run around the Constitution." At a press conference Tuesday morning, Senators Ron Wyden …
Kieren McCarthy, 19 Dec 2017

Critical US mass spying program scrutiny lost amid partisan nonsense

Analysis In two weeks, a US law authorizing one of Uncle Sam's crucial mass snooping programs will expire. The man with the power to green-light the surveillance of any individual in the world, as part of said program, appeared in front of the US House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning. Such fortunate timing for some much-needed …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Dec 2017

US Section 702 spying rules get deadline extension until April

Proving that nothing is what it seems when it comes to mass surveillance, the hard deadline of December 31 for the controversial section 702 spying program has been moved overnight to April 26. On the eve of a Congressional hearing in which director of the FBI Christopher Wray was pointedly asked about the agency's use of …

Then there were four: Another draft US law on 'foreign' (aka domestic) mass spying emerges

The battle over a controversial US government spying program has intensified – with a fourth piece of legislation tackling the surveillance introduced to Congress on Friday. Somewhat confusingly, the latest proposed law – put forward by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) to the US Senate – is understood to be …
Kieren McCarthy, 18 Nov 2017
woman laughs in a freaked-out way. Pic by shutterstock

US govt's 'foreign' spy program that can snoop on Americans at home. Sure, let's reauth that...

Analysis The reauthorization of a controversial US government spying program has made further progress with the Senate's intelligence committee putting forward its recommendations to the whole Senate. This follows a similar move by its counterpart in the House of Representatives last week. The report [PDF] from the Senate committee …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Nov 2017

How bad can the new spying legislation be? Exhibit 1: it's called the USA Liberty Act

Analysis The US Senate Judiciary Committee has unveiled its answer to a controversial spying program run by the NSA and used by the FBI to fish for crime leads. Unsurprisingly, the proposed legislation [PDF] reauthorizes Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) – which allows American snoops to scour …

Intelligence director pulls national security BS on spying question

The director of national intelligence (DNI) has refused to say whether US spying agencies are using legislation specifically intended to cover only foreigners in order to spy on American citizens. The unclassified letter [PDF] from Dan Coats to Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and released by the legislator, comes in response to a …
Kieren McCarthy, 13 Sep 2017
Puzzled man displays his palms in the classic physical pose that tells other people you do not know something or are asking a question. Photo by Shutterstock

US Congress to NSA: How many Americans do you illegally spy on?

If there is one piece of information that would fatally undermine the NSA's argument that it doesn't abuse Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), it would be the number of American citizens whose personal information it has "incidentally" hoovered up. And that is why it refuses to provide the figure …

OK, it's time to talk mass spying again: America's Section 702 powers are up for renewal

Analysis While the entire US political machinery has been caught up with one Trump-based scandal after another over the past three weeks, larger underlying issues are starting to re-emerge. And top of the list is mass surveillance. Section 702 of America's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) expires at the end of the year – …
Kieren McCarthy, 15 Feb 2017

World's largest internet exchange sues Germany over mass surveillance

The world's largest internet exchange point is suing the German government for tapping its communications systems. DE-CIX runs a number of critical exchange points – most of them in Germany, but with others in France, Spain and the United States – and has sued the German interior ministry over orders from the German security …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Sep 2016

UK Snoopers' Charter crashes through critics into the next level

IPB The Investigatory Powers Bill – better known as the Snoopers' Charter – has passed its second reading in the UK Parliament amid fierce criticism. There were 281 votes in favor and 15 opposed. All the main opposition parties decided to abstain from voting rather than oppose the bill. The proposed law – which would in effect …
Kieren McCarthy, 16 Mar 2016
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European human rights court rules mass surveillance illegal

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that mass surveillance is illegal, in a little-noticed case in Hungary. In a judgment last week, the court ruled that the Hungarian government had violated article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to privacy) due to its failure to include "sufficiently …
Kieren McCarthy, 20 Jan 2016
Kindle Big Brother

Big Brother is born. And we find out 15 years too late to stop him

Exclusive The "Big Brother" comprehensive national database system feared by many MPs has been built behind their backs over the last decade, and even has a name for its most intrusive component: a central London national phone and internet tapping centre called PRESTON. PRESTON, which collects about four million intercepted phone calls …
Duncan Campbell, 16 Dec 2015

James Clapper has found another reason why he lied about NSA spying

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper now has a fifth reason for why he lied to the US Congress over the NSA's spying program: he just plain forgot it existed. Speaking during a panel discussion last week, Clapper's general counsel Robert Litt said that Clapper had not had time to prepare an answer to the question …

DC judge rips into the NSA over mass surveillance

In an extraordinary opinion, DC judge Richard Leon has laid into the NSA and US government for its bulk collection of phone records, and issued an injunction banning the collection of metadata on several individuals. Railing against arguments made by the government to dismiss the case, claims it needed more time to make …

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