January 26, 2014 |
President Obama's recent speech on government surveillance is dominating the conversation, but he won't be making the key decisions on the future of the National Security Agency's collection of domestic phone data. The statutory provision authorizing these massive sweeps expires June 1, 2015. If Congress simply does nothing, the NSA's domestic spying program will soon come to a screeching halt. The question is whether Americans will seize this opportunity to gain critical perspective on the crisis responses of the George W. Bush years.
January 5, 2014 |
As President Obama ponders a task force's recommendations for reining in electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, a federal judge in New York has allowed another government agency to invade the privacy of Americans. Judge Edward R. Korman ruled that U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents may confiscate and examine the contents of laptop computers of Americans returning to the country even if they lack reasonable suspicion that the devices contain evidence of criminal activity.
December 18, 2013 |
Six months after Edward Snowden revealed that the National Security Agency was indiscriminately collecting the phone records of Americans and holding on to them for years for possible use in terrorism investigations, a federal judge has rightly ruled that the program probably violates the 4th Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. In a powerful opinion released Monday in Washington, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon castigated what he called an "almost-Orwellian technology that enables the government to store and analyze the phone metadata of every telephone user in the United States.
June 9, 2013
Re "Feds tracking all U.S. calls," June 7 In her defense of the government's collection of data from nearly every phone call in the U.S., Senate Intelligence Committee head Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said, "It's called protecting America. " I have always believed that the foremost duty of elected officials is to support and defend the Constitution. In this instance, the rights that need protection are guaranteed by the 4th Amendment: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
June 8, 2013
Re "Court goes too far on DNA," Editorial, June 4 The U.S. Supreme Court got it absolutely right in finding that it is constitutional for DNA to be collected at the time of arrest and checked against a national database of unsolved cases. The Times' claim that doing so violates an arrestee's 4th Amendment rights is off base. The 4th Amendment prohibits only unreasonable searches, and case law through the years has found it reasonable for law enforcement to collect a number of identifying traits at the time of arrest.
June 6, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A newly published court order has confirmed what key members of Congress said they had known for years - that the government had routine access to the dialing records for hundreds of millions of phone calls in the United States. The report raised new questions about secret surveillance and unchecked government power. Q: What information is being obtained? A: The order called it "metadata" that consisted of telephone numbers and the times and duration of calls, but not the contents of the phones calls or the names and addresses of those who owned the phones.