NSA authorization to collect bulk phone data extended to June 1
Mon 2 Mar 2015, 08:40

A U.S. secret court has extended until June 1 the controversial bulk collection of private phone records of Americans by the National Security Agency.

The government said it had asked for reauthorization of the program as reform legislation, called the USA Freedom Act, was stalled in Congress. The bill would require telecommunications companies rather than the NSA to hold the bulk data, besides placing restrictions on the search terms used to retrieve the records.

An added urgency for Congress to act comes from the upcoming expiry on June 1 of the relevant part of the Patriot Act that provides the legal framework for the bulk data collections. Under a so-called “sunset” clause, the provision will lapse unless it is reauthorized in some form or the other by legislation.

Why is bulk collection of telephone records still happening?
Thu 5 Feb 2015, 03:20

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) exists to ensure that national security does not trump privacy and civil liberties, and it has been especially busy since the publication of the first Snowden leak. 

The NSA uses Section 215 of the Patriot Act to justify its bulk telephone records collection program. But as we have noted repeatedly, there’s no evidence that the Section 215 program is necessary for stopping terrorism—something PCLOB, the President’s Review Group, and even the administration itself have all admitted. On the other hand, there’s plenty of evidence of how the program invades innocent peoples’ privacy. And PCLOB’s recommendation is very simple here: the program should end.

EU judges may be asked to rule on legality of UK surveillance powers
Mon 5 Jun 2017, 16:40

EU judges may be asked to decide whether the intelligence services’ bulk collection of email data in order to prevent terrorist attacks is legal. In a fresh challenge that could impact the Investigatory Powers Act, the campaign group Privacy International argued in court on Monday that interception of social media that is not targeted and subject to sufficient safeguards is forbidden by a previous European judgment.