Tag Archives: warrantless search

Taking Short Break From Denouncing Trump Authoritarianism, House Dems Join With GOP to ‘Violate the Privacy Rights of Everyone in United States’

“Democratic leadership in the House—who say that Trump is currently abusing his power to go after his political enemies—just helped him pass dangerous domestic surveillance powers.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 1-11-2018

“It seems rather odd, to put that mildly,” wrote journalist Glenn Greenwald, “to simultaneously insist that Trump is a traitorous agent or enslaved tool of an adversarial foreign power to whom he reports back, and then vote to give Trump extremely invasive, largely unchecked domestic spying power.” (Image: EFF)

Despite spending much of the last twelve months denouncing the legitimate threat posed by President Donald Trump’s penchant for authoritarian policies and behavior, 65 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday joined with 191 Republicans in passing a bill that advocates of civil liberties warn will lead to the wholesale violation ‘of privacy rights for everyone in the United States.’

While the final vote on the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 (or S.139)—which included renewal of the controversial Section 702 which allows government agencies to spy on the emails, text messages, and other electronic communications of Americans and foreigners without a warrant—was 256 to 164 in favor of passage, the partisan breakdown revealed that Republicans in the majority needed a great deal of Democratic support in order to have it pass. Continue reading

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Victory for Civil Liberties as GOP Push to Expand NSA Spying Declared Dead—For Now

“Just like that, in less than 12 hours, last-ditch efforts to cram an NSA surveillance expansion bill were delayed—and possibly derailed. Your voices are heard. Keep it up.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 12-20-2017

“Like with the tax bill and healthcare, House Republicans are now trying to pass an awful NSA surveillance expansion bill within hours of releasing the text and with zero debate,” Freedom of the Press Foundation executive director Trevor Timm warned in a tweet on Tuesday. (Photo: Joe Brusky/Flickr/cc)

Civil libertarians and internet freedom groups declared tentative victory on Wednesday after House Republicans announced that they have—at least for now—abandoned efforts to sneak through a measure that would have reauthorized Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and vastly expanded NSA spying powers.

A number of prominent groups and public figures—including Fight for the Future, the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF), and Edward Snowden—have been working to call attention to the legislation in recent days amid the flurry of tax and budget developments. Continue reading

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DOJ Docs Raise Questions About Gorsuch’s Views on Torture and Executive Power

Americans should be “deeply concerned that this nominee won’t be a meaningful check on Donald Trump’s illegal and unconstitutional agenda”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-16-2017

Photo: Screenshot

With just days until Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a new trove of documents is raising additional questions about the federal judge’s time at the Department of Justice (DOJ), where he “played a key role in defending the torture and detention policies that have been rejected by the courts and by our country,” according to one group.

From June 2005 to August 2006, Gorsuch served as the principal deputy to the associate attorney general under former President George W. Bush. Continue reading

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Starting Today, Feds Can Hack Millions of Devices with One Warrant

By Shaun Bradley. Published 11-30-2016 by The Anti-Media

On Thursday, December 1, a vital Supreme Court order is set to go into effect that dramatically expands the surveillance power of federal agents. The impending alteration to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure softens the legal requirements for obtaining search and seizure warrants that grant the government remote access to individual’s computers and phones.

In the past, law enforcement was required to obtain a warrant from a judge within the jurisdiction where the proposed search was going take place. Under this new system, however, if an individual is using technology to conceal their location, the warrant is considered valid regardless of jurisdiction. A single authorization will have the potential to validate millions of searches on private devices. Any journalist, activist, or whistleblower who values privacy and uses tools like Freenet or the Tor network will fall directly into the crosshairs. Continue reading

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‘Terrifying’: AT&T Spying on Americans for Profit, New Documents Reveal

‘If companies are allowed to operate in this manner without repercussions, our democracy has no future’

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-25-2016

Project Hemisphere allowed agencies to conduct warrantless searches of trillions of call records and other cellular data—such as "where a target is located, with whom he speaks, and potentially why." (Photo: Har Gobind Singh Khalsa/flickr/cc)

Project Hemisphere allowed agencies to conduct warrantless searches of trillions of call records and other cellular data—such as “where a target is located, with whom he speaks, and potentially why.” (Photo: Har Gobind Singh Khalsa/flickr/cc)

Telecommunications giant AT&T is spying on Americans for profit and helped law enforcement agencies investigate everything from the so-called war on drugs to Medicaid fraud—all at taxpayers’ expense, according to new reporting by The Daily Beast.

The program, known as Project Hemisphere, allowed state and local agencies to conduct warrantless searches of trillions of call records and other cellular data—such as “where a target is located, with whom he speaks, and potentially why”—for a massive range of investigations, the Beast‘s Kenneth Lipp reports. In one case examined by the news outlet, a sheriff’s office in Victorville, California used Hemisphere to track down a homicide suspect. Continue reading

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Caving to Post-Orlando Fear, House Betrays Civil Liberties

Massie-Lofgren amendment fails 198-222 in turnaround for House

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-17-2016

The amendment would also have prohibited the government from mandating backdoors into encrypted communications. (Photo: Antonio Netto/flickr/cc)

The amendment would also have prohibited the government from mandating backdoors into encrypted communications. (Photo: Antonio Netto/flickr/cc)

Late Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives blocked an amendment that would have prohibited warrantless surveillance of Americans’ electronic communications and banned the government from forcing technology companies to install backdoors to encrypted devices.

The amendment to the House’s annual military spending bill, introduced by Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), failed by a vote of 198-222. The roll call is here. Continue reading

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Disregarding Privacy, Court Rules Common Cell Surveillance Method is Legal

The court rejected an argument that collecting phone location data without a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-14-2016

The panel referred to a 1979 ruling in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that the numbers dialed on a landline are not protected by the Fourth Amendment because the caller willingly gives that data to phone companies. (Photo: Graeme Peterson/flickr/cc)

The panel referred to a 1979 ruling in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that the numbers dialed on a landline are not protected by the Fourth Amendment because the caller willingly gives that data to phone companies. (Photo: Graeme Peterson/flickr/cc)

In a show of “complete disregard” for privacy, a federal appellate court on Wednesday ruled that the warrantless collection of cell phone location data is constitutional.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in United States v. Carpenter that law enforcement can legally request cell site location information (CSLI) without a warrant on the grounds that routing data, which is not as accurate as GPS coordinates, is not protected under the Fourth Amendment.

But as Jennifer Lynch, senior staff attorney with the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote in a blog post responding to the ruling, “The opinion shows a complete disregard for the sensitive and revealing nature of [CSLI] and a misguided response to the differences between the analog technologies addressed in old cases and the data-rich technologies of today.” Continue reading

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With New Privacy Bill, California Delivers ‘Landmark Win for Digital Privacy’

California now has the most comprehensive tech privacy bill in the nation and should be model for other states, say advocates

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-9-2015

CalECPA is "a landmark win for digital privacy and all Californians." (Photo: Yuri Samoilov/flickr/cc)

CalECPA is “a landmark win for digital privacy and all Californians.” (Photo: Yuri Samoilov/flickr/cc)

In what privacy advocates are hailing as a landmark victory, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a sweeping tech privacy bill which will require police in the state to obtain warrants for access to telecommunications data, including emails, text messages, GPS coordinates, and other digital information.

“This is a major win for privacy and for Californians. With so much of our information existing online, it’s important that our communications are protected from government access to the strongest degree possible,” said G.S. Hans, policy counsel and director for the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT). Continue reading

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