You are here


Surveillance Reform Includes Ending Ex Parte Court

Lawfare has a comprehensive roundup of all the legislative proposals to reform the mass surveillance that has been revealed by Edward Snowden's leaks. One suggested reform is to end the ex parte proceedings in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in which the government's requests face no opposition: "Judging by the bills in play, there’s pretty much two ideas for doing so: the addition of a new 'Special Advocate,' a lawyer who would argue in the public interest in FISC proceedings; or of an amicus curiae, or 'friend of the court,' when called upon by the court," according to Lawfare.

Opinion: FISA Court Contradicts US Supreme Court's Privacy Jurisprudence

Yochai Benkler, law professor and director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, writes in The Guardian that a ruling in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court contradicts recent jurisprudence from the U.S. Supreme Court on security and the constitutional protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. One of the most important implications of Benkler's argument is for FICA no longer to be an ex parte, completely secret court. Creating a role for an adversary to the goverment's surveillance requests has been one of the key reforms suggested for FISC. Benkler says that if FISC was adversarial that the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in United States v. Jones--that it was unconstitutional for law enforcement to place a GPS tracking device on a suspect's vehicle without a warrant-- would not have been ignored by FISC in a decision setting out "why the government's collection of records of all Americans' phone calls is constitutional."

Wall Street Journal Reports Mayer’s ‘Treason’ Remark About NSA Not to be Taken Literally

Yahoo is softening CEO Marissa Mayer's remark this week that the reason the firm isn't doing more to push back against court orders that the tech firm can't reveal how much surveillance has been requested the government is because doing so would result in imprisonment on grounds of treason.

A Yahoo spokeswoman, according to the Wall Street Journal, explained: '"The point is that Yahoo fought in lower court and then again in appellate court, and we lost,' said spokeswoman Sara Gorman by email. 'At that point, failure to comply would be in contempt of valid legal process that had undergone two levels of federal court review, and could have led to incarceration.”'

Subscribe to RSS - FISA