Secret US spy court approved every surveillance request in 2015


Perfect batting average continues with the FISA Court two years in a row now.

Source: Secret US spy court approved every surveillance request in 2015

Senator Wyden Warns That The Justice Department Is Lying To The Courts; Also Still Worried About Secret Law | Techdirt

We’ve been noting for years: when Senator Ron Wyden says that (1) there’s a secret interpretation of a law that is at odds with the public’s understanding of it, or (2) that government officials are lying, you should pay attention.

Source: Senator Wyden Warns That The Justice Department Is Lying To The Courts; Also Still Worried About Secret Law | Techdirt

US Government Has Apparently Demanded, And Obtained, Tech Companies’ Source Code In The Past | Techdirt

The US government has made numerous attempts to obtain source code from tech companies in an effort to find security flaws that could be used for surveillance or investigations.

The government has demanded source code in civil cases filed under seal but also by seeking clandestine rulings authorized under the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a person with direct knowledge of these demands told ZDNet. We’re not naming the person as they relayed information that is likely classified.

With these hearings held in secret and away from the public gaze, the person said that the tech companies hit by these demands are losing “most of the time.”

Source: US Government Has Apparently Demanded, And Obtained, Tech Companies’ Source Code In The Past | Techdirt

FBI Spied On Activists Because Protecting Corporate Interests Is Roughly Equivalent To Ensuring National Security

That whole thing about the FBI not surveilling people based solely on First Amendment activity? The thing that’s been in all the (FISA) papers (and agency policies)? Yeah, the FBI hasn’t heard of it either.

The FBI breached its own internal rules when it spied on campaigners against the Keystone XL pipeline, failing to get approval before it cultivated informants and opened files on individuals protesting against the construction of the pipeline in Texas, documents reveal.

Internal agency documents show for the first time how FBI agents have been closely monitoring anti-Keystone activists, in violation of guidelines designed to prevent the agency from becoming unduly involved in sensitive political issues.

“Unduly involved” is right. First of all, a majority of what was monitored was First Amendment activity, something no federal intelligence or investigative agency is supposed to be doing. Certainly, there can be law enforcement monitoring of protests as they occur, but there’s no provision in the law that allows the FBI to monitor people solely because of their activism.

Unless, of course, these activists are declared “extremists.” Then all bets (and Constitutional protections) are off.

“Many of these extremists believe the debates over pollution, protection of wildlife, safety, and property rights have been overshadowed by the promise of jobs and cheaper oil prices,” the FBI document states.

“Extremists” are often mentioned in the same breath as “domestic terrorists,” so with a little bit of rebranding, the FBI is now able to surveill people solely for their First Amendment-protected activities. That’s handy and not totally unexpected, given the agency’s long history of eyeballing activists who run contrary to its view on How Things Should Be. At one point, it was uppity blacks and encroaching homosexuals. Now, it’s people who don’t want an oil pipeline running through their neighborhoods.

Link (Techdirt)