Dissent and Surveillance
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Headlines & Opinion
- Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Holds First Public Meeting
- Bipartisan Senate Investigation: Fusion Centers Do Not Help Counter Terror, Threaten Civil Liberties
- Privacy Board Nominees Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee
- FBI Training Document Equates Activism with Terrorism
- Court: State Dept. Must Act on MEK’s Status as Foreign Terrorist Organization
- Former Fed Informant Now Suing FBI
- WikiLeaks: Private Intelligence Company Paid to Monitor Activists’ Activities
- Groups Urge Senate to Hold Confirmation Hearings to Ensure Privacy and Civil Liberties are Protected
- Investigation of Anti-war Activists Remains Active
- ACLU: FBI used outreach to Spy on Muslims
- Lawsuit Alleges Government Spy Infiltrated Civil Rights Group
- Mixed Ruling in Lawsuit Seeking To Shed Light On FBI Investigation Manual
- Activist Group Wins Internet Free Speech Ruling
- Conservatives Seek Updating 4th Amendment Protections for the Digital Age
- JUSTICE Act Targets Patriot Act Abuses
- DOJ Appeals Warrantless Wiretapping Ruling
2009 & 2010
- Document Sheds Light on Military Spying on Peace Groups
- Government Wants Access to Wiretap the Internet
- The G-Men Who Kicked the Hornets Nest
- Penn. Governor Apologizes for Treating Activists Like Terrorists
- Widespread Surveillance of Peace Activists in Washington State
- Listed Charity Proposes Government Pay Damages to Another Charity
- Judge Rule Warantless Wiretap of Charity was Unconstitutional
- President Asked to Nominate Appointees to Privacy and Civil Liberties Board
- Planned Parenthood and Others were Target of Unlawful Intelligence Gathering
- Will Lieberman Use Fort Hood Shooting to Crush our Right to be Radical?
- Documents Show Govt Intelligence Gathering Conducted on Peaceful Protests
- Court Orders Return of CAIR Documents
- (un)Patriot Act Turns Ten
- Patriot Act Spying Powers Extended until 2015
- New JUSTICE Act Would Target Patriot Act Abuses
- Senate Votes to Extend Patriot Act 90 Days
- Dueling Patriot Act Reauthorization Bills Differ on Timing and Safeguards
- DOJ Rejects Calls to Reform Patriot Act
- Senator asks DOJ for Patriot Act Oversight
- Investigation of Anti-war Activists Remains Active
- Revised Guidelines Lower FBI’s Surveillance Bar
- Expanded FBI Surveillance Powers Raise Serious Privacy Concerns
- FBI Documents Left During Raid Reveal Political Nature of Investigation
- Bank Freezes Account of Midwest Activist
- Lowered Standards for Domestic Surveillance Led to Thousands Targeted by FBI
- Lawsuit Alleges FBI used Indiscriminate Surveillance at Mosques
- FBI Infiltrated Peace Groups
- Nationwide Protests Over FBI Subpoenas
- FBI Asked to Stop Targeting Activists by Human Rights and Civil Society Groups
- DOJ Cancels Subpoenas of Anti-War Protestors After Flurry of Protests
- Subpoenas Issued in Chicago and Minneapolis Targeting Anti-War Activists
- Senate Hearings Review Problems with FBI Surveillance Guidelines
- ACLU Make Inquiry on FBI Racial Profiling Practices
- Muslim Charity Lawsuit Seeks FBI Guidelines on Surveilling Charities and Mosques
- Court Orders Review of FBI Records as Complaints Emerge
- American Muslim Frustration towards FBI Boils Over
- TCP Report Outlines Recommendations for Improving Fusion Centers
- HSPI: A Look Inside Fusion Centers
- Massachusetts Bill Calls for Oversight of Fusion Centers
- Fusion Center Analyst Caught Spying on Peaceful Protestors
- House Hearing on Fusion Centers
"Intelligence activity in the past decades has, all too often, exceeded the restraints on the exercise of governmental power that are imposed by our country's Constitution, laws, and traditions," according to an April 24, 2013 Congressional Research Service report. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Terrorism Investigations reviews how the FBI investigative process has changed over the past decade and offers oversight considerations for Congress.
Two American attorneys have decided not to appeal an Aug. 7, 2012 decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled although the U.S. government violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) when it wiretapped their conversations with foreign clients without court approval, it is protected from paying damages by the sovereign immunity doctrine. A petition for rehearing was denied on Dec. 5, 2012. They will not appeal to the Supreme Court, attorneys in the case said on Jan. 3, 2013, in order to limit the precedent set to the Ninth Circuit.
On Dec. 30 President Obama signed into law a five-year extension of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. The law extends powers of the National Security Agency to conduct surveillance of Americans’ international emails and phone calls without obtaining a court order. Amendments that would have brought a degree of transparency and oversight to the government's activities were pushed aside with little or no debate. In this short video, Cato Institute research fellow Julian Sanchez breaks down the rushed debate over federal spying powers.
On Oct. 31, 2012, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) held its first meeting, soliciting public feedback for its agenda and priorities. Created in response to a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, the PCLOB is an independent body within the President’s office with a mandate to ensure privacy and civil liberties in the creation and implementation of U.S. law and policy against terrorism. The Defending Dissent Foundation, Electronic Privacy Information Center, and OMB Watch were among the groups who submitted comments and recommendations, urging the board to be open and transparent in its own activities and conduct thorough oversight on the government’s widespread surveillance regime, including the collection and storage of data related to activist groups’ First Amendment activities and the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program.
Al-Haramain v. Bush Summary: Trying to Hold the Executive Branch Responsible for Illegal Wiretapping
Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation (AHIF) v. Bush was filed in 2006 after attorneys for the charity found records of the warrantless wiretap in documents the government provided in other litigation involving the charity. The case is the only legal challenge to Bush-era illegal surveillance programs that had survived in court, because AHIF and its lawyers were able to show they had been subjected to unwarranted surveillance by using public records and statements.
Bipartisan Senate Investigation: Fusion Centers Do Little to Counter Terror, Threaten Civil Liberties
Fusion centers across the country threaten civil liberties while doing little to support counterterrorism efforts, a two-year bipartisan Senate investigation finds. A report released at a Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing on Oct.
The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) “is committed to protecting civil liberties and privacy, which are foundational principles of our Nation’s democratic society, preserved in the Constitution of the United States, and guaranteed in Federal law,” says an August 31, 2012 Intelligence Community (IC) Directive on Civil Liberties and Privacy. Signed by DNI James R.
What do student groups at Virginia’s historically black colleges, supporters of Ron Paul, and Muslims using a footbath at an Indianapolis area airport all have in common? They have all been included in reports about potential domestic terrorism threats issued by fusion centers, says a September 2012 report released by the Constitution Project. Recommendations for Fusion Centers: Protecting Privacy and Civil Liberties while Protecting Against Crime and Terrorism provides the history of fusion centers, including an overview of the laws that apply to their activities, and how the collection of information for “suspicious activity” reports threaten constitutional rights of privacy. The report recommends that fusion centers “establish guidelines that prohibit profiling; improve training and qualifications; ensure that suspicious activity reports contain only information pertaining to criminal or terrorist threats and conduct regular data audits to confirm that stored information is relevant and legal.”
What do student groups at Virginia’s historically black colleges, supporters of Ron Paul, and Muslims using a footbath at an Indianapolis area airport all have in common?
They have all been included in reports about potential domestic terrorism threats issued by fusion centers, says a September 2012 report from The Constitution Project. Recommendations for Fusion Centers: Protecting Privacy and Civil Liberties while Protecting Against Crime and Terrorism provides the history of fusion centers, including an overview of the laws that apply to their activities, and how the collection of information for “suspicious activity” reports threaten constitutional rights of privacy.