Obama discusses surveillance reform
Wed 4 Feb 2015, 01:40

Today President Obama outlined new steps on surveillance reforms. The Director of National Intelligence also released a privacy framework for non-US persons and revised agency guidelines on data collection. Last year, the President committed to end the bulk collection of American's phone records and increase oversight of intelligence gathering. But the President has not ended the bulk collection program despite the absence of evidence that the program is effective. In 2013 EPIC, joined by dozens of legal experts, petitioned the Supreme Court to find the program unlawful.

Human Rights Watch files suit over bulk collection of telephone records
Wed 8 Apr 2015, 12:18

Human Rights Watch, a nonpartisan organization that fights human rights abuses across the globe, filed suit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration late Tuesday for illegally collecting records of its telephone calls to certain foreign countries as part of yet another government bulk surveillance program.

EFF comments on the new USA Freedom Act
Fri 1 May 2015, 11:16

Similar to last year's bill, the new USA Freedom Act attempts to end the bulk collection of calling records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act by limiting collection to instances where there is "reasonable, articulable suspicion" that a "specific selection term" used to request call detail records is associated with international terrorism. The government must use a specific selection term, which represents an "individual, account, or personal device."

US Senate special session on Patriot Act renewal
Sun 31 May 2015, 19:00

The Senate convenes today for a rare Sunday session. Senators will consider whether to renew key provisions of the PATRIOT Act, including the NSA bulk collection program, due to expire tonight. Senator Rand Paul has said he will oppose any renewal. Also under consideration is the FREEDOM Act, sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Mike Lee (R-TX). In 2013, EPIC filed a petition in the Supreme Court, In re EPIC, supported by experts, scholars, and members of the Church Committee, arguing that the NSA program was unlawful. In 2014, EPIC and a broad coalition urged the President to end the program. The Sunday debate will be broadcast live on CSPAN2 at 4 pm EDT.

US wants to collect bulk call records for six more months
Tue 9 Jun 2015, 10:00

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for permission to continue the bulk collection of call records for another six months, as the new USA Freedom Act allows for this transition period.

The filing, made public Monday, was submitted to the court last Tuesday, the same day President Barack Obama approved as law the USA Freedom Act, which puts curbs on the bulk collection of domestic telephone records by the National Security Agency.

The new legislation was passed by the Senate following the expiry at midnight of May 31 of the authorization of the bulk collection under section 215 of the Patriot Act. It leaves the phone records database in the hands of the telecommunications operators, while allowing a targeted search of the data by the National Security Agency for investigations.