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"Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad"

James Madison, May 13, 1798

CNSS Spotlight on the Issues

Privacy Board Issues Findings on Communications Surveillance Under § 702 of FISA
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has released its report on communications collected pursuant to § 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  Read CNSS' statement in response here.  Prior to the report’s release, CNSS and other civil liberties organizations sent a letter to the Board urging it to endorse a probable cause requirement to search all U.S. person communications collected under the program.  See also CNSS’ Comments on the 702 program and prior Comments regarding secret surveillance

Published on 02 Jul 2014

“What’s a Logical Drone Strikes Policy? Hint: Not the Current One”
The New York Times’ Andrew Rosenthal highlights the Center’s paper on U.S. drone strikes, written in partnership with the American Bar Association’s Center for Human Rights. 

Published on 21 Mar 2014

CNSS Welcomes End to NSA Bulk Metadata Program
President Obama promised to end the NSA’s bulk telephone metadata collection program in a speech on intelligence reforms. He also issued a Presidential Policy Directive promising to respect the privacy rights of foreigners abroad, the first such commitment by any President.

Published on 17 Jan 2014


CNSS Amicus Brief Arguing that NSA's Bulk Telephone Metadata Program Was Never Authorized By Congress

In this Brief before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, CNSS makes the case that the court's orders to phone companies to hand over their customers’ telephone metadata in bulk to the NSA are not legal under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. 

 Published on 03 Apr 2014

CNSS' Statement Supporting the USA FREEDOM Act (S. 2685)

CNSS supports passage of the revised USA FREEDOM Act S.2685 by Senator Patrick Leahy and others to end bulk collection of Americans’ telephone metadata under the so-called “section 215” program. Text of the bill can be found here, and the summary is here

 Published on 29 Jul 2014

Guest Post: Would the USA Freedom Act End All Authorities for Bulk Collection?

Writing on Just Security, CNSS calls on the Obama administration to disclose whether the Justice Department has claimed that the NSA’s bulk metadata collection could be legal under other authorities in addition to “section 215”,  which section Congress proposes to amend in the USA Freedom Act.  In February, CNSS asked the Justice Department and the ODNI to declassify and disclose more information about the history of the bulk metadata program, including a 2004 Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel Memorandum which apparently discussed the legal basis for such collection.  While both Members of the House and the administration claim that the House-passed USA Freedom Act would end the NSA’s bulk collection in fulfillment of the President’s pledge to do so, that claim is impossible to evaluate without knowing whether the Justice Department claims that there are other potential authorities which could be used by this or a future administration to reinstate bulk collection, even if the USA Freedom Act is enacted.  


 Published on 17 Jul 2014

CNSS’ Statement on the PCLOB’s Report on Section 702 Surveillance

The Center issued this statement on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board's report on surveillance conducted pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. 

 Published on 02 Jul 2014

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