House Passes Restraints on Bulk Data CollectionMISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!! Hang the banner!
By JONATHAN WEISMAN and CHARLIE SAVAGE, May 22, 2014, The New York Times
WASHINGTON — In a rare moment of bipartisan agreement between the White House and Congress on a major national security issue, the House passed legislation on Thursday that aims to end the National Security Agency’s bulk phone records program that had prompted intense domestic debate about privacy and civil liberties.
You have to get to the end of the fourth paragraph before there is even this so-milquetoast-that-it's-a-lie-too understatement:
leaving some civil liberties groups to say that efforts at change had been weakened.What's a citizen to do? Take the word of the "paper of record" on its face? Especially when it comes to the headline?
Hell no! Go to an unfiltered preeminent reporter and commentator on this issue:
Why USA Freedumber Doesn’t End (What You and I Think of as) Bulk CollectionHeck, if you have to, go to the same Charlie Savage at the NYT from just two days ago:
By emptywheel, May 22, 2014
- The bill uses the intelligence community definition of bulk collection in its claim to end bulk collection, not the plain English language meaning of it
- The bill retains the “relevant to” language that got us into this problem
- The “selection terms” it uses to prevent bulk collection would permit the collection of vast swaths of innocent people’s records
- Such a reading would probably not rely on any new FISA Court opinion; existing opinions probably already authorize such collection
Changes to Surveillance Bill Stoke AngerGiven that the NSA and the rest of the United States's intelligence and law enforcement apparatus has a track record, proven many times over, of going beyond even maximalist interpretations of legal authority, the "USA FREEDOM Act," H.R. 3361, is a joke upon all of us.
By CHARLIE SAVAGE, May 20, 2014, The New York Times
And it's not even legal authority in the first place. The Fourth Amendment is quite clear:
United States Constitution, Amendment 4That means no bulk collection, period. And get a damn warrant. No make-believe "national security letters," either.
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.
That would be the
Uniting andfollowing in the unholy tradition of the
Dragnet collection, and
Uniting andThe American Civil Liberties Union keeps hope alive for improvements to the bill:
Act of 2001
House Passes NSA BillThe Electronic Frontier Foundation is less sanguine:
May 22, 2014, ACLU
EFF Dismayed by House's Gutted USA FREEDOM ActAnd then:
By MARK JAYCOX and NADIA KAYYALI and LEE TIEN, May 20, 2014
USA Freedom Act: Oh, Well. Whatever. Nevermind.Please ask your senator to vote down this heinous act and to let the similarly heinous USA PATRIOT Act expire.
By Jennifer Granick, May 21, 2014, Just Security
Reformers are still reluctant to openly oppose USA Freedom. That’s partially because of the specter of the House Intelligence Committee bill, the FISA Transparency and Modernization Act, which would expand surveillance under the mantle of reform. Privacy groups seem whipsawed between the pale appearance of surveillance reform that is USA Freedom and the actual surveillance expansion that is the Intel bill.
Its also partially due to assurances from Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) and others that the Senate will work to improve the current version of USA Freedom to give the definition of “specific selection term” real meaning and to include amendments to limit dragnet collection provisions under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.
Reformers have the summer to put the pressure on [...]