After several years of back-and-forth rulings, an appeals court in Washington, D.C. has ruled today that the NSA’s controversial bulk phone data collection program can indeed continue… at least until November, when it gets shut down anyway because Congress changed the law in June.
Last October, Twitter sued the Justice Department, the U.S. Attorney General, the FBI, and FBI Director James Comey, because the social media platform believed it has a First Amendment right to be fully transparent with its users about the number and nature of national security requests it receives from the government. But with the recent passing of the USA FREEDOM Act, the judge in the case says there may be no need for the lawsuit to move forward. [More]
As expected following the June 1 expiration of one of the PATRIOT Act’s most controversial privacy-invading provisions, the Senate today passed a substitute bill, the USA FREEDOM Act (or rather, deep breath… the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2015) that prohibits the sort of mass data collection the National Security Agency enjoyed under the recently sunset Patriot provisions, but still leaves in place many concerns for privacy advocates. [More]
As lawmakers in D.C. flipped over their calendars from May to June last night, the sun set — at least temporarily — on the National Security Agency’s ability to collect mass amounts of information from telephone companies about their customers’ calls. [More]
It’s been two years since we found out that the NSA has been quietly scooping up basically everyone’s phone records, willy-nilly, without warrants. The revelations of widespread surveillance freaked plenty of people out, but under existing law, the agency has acted legally. To get change, then, you’d need to change the law… and Congress has 33 days remaining in which to do exactly that.
Chris is not impressed with his recent interaction with Chase, his bank. He writes that he received a letter telling him that his credit card had been closed because it lacked Patriot Act verification. This would be less of a concern if he actually had the credit card in question. Chase told him to “go ahead and disregard” the letter. He’s now considering switching banks.
Gateway claims that the Patriot Act is holding up delivery of the part needed to fix Redwoodflyer’s laptop, which has been broken since October. Seems believable to us!
Ryan wanted to order new Comcast service but balked at their request for a Social Security number. When he asked why they needed it, the Comcast chat rep said “The Patriot Act” required it. That doesn’t sound right to us, or to Ryan. His story and full screenshot of the chat, inside…
We’d heard of the “mile high” club, but we’d always assumed that it involved the plane’s lavatory. Not for Carl Persing and Dawn Sewell. Carl has been convicted, yes, convicted of interfering with flight attendants and crew members after he and his girlfriend were “embracing, kissing and acting in a manner that made other passengers uncomfortable.”
If you’re curious exactly how far the government’s data mining is going, the Wall Street Journal has a scary article up about how the government is literally combing through every single record you have these days for evidence of criminality. It doesn’t stop at the nation’s telecoms: your AOL account, your bank records, any record that could possibly be used against you is routinely being requested by and granted to the Federal Government.