Risk
6/11/2013
01:21 PM
50%
50%

NSA Prism: Patriot Act Author Questions Scope

White House says NSA's surveillance programs implement FISA and the Patriot Act -- but Patriot Act author is not so sure. Meanwhile, privacy groups turn up the heat.

FISC is meant to be a safeguard. Yet the court appears to rubberstamp all such requests; only .03% have been rejected. That's based on annual Justice Department reports to Congress, which said that from 1979 through 2012, out of over 33,900 surveillance requests lodged by the Department of Justice, the court rejected only 11.

"The FISA system is broken," Marc Rotenberg, executive director of Electronic Privacy Information Center -- a privacy rights group -- told the Journal. "At the point that a FISA judge can compel the disclosure of millions of phone records of U.S. citizens engaged in only domestic communications, unrelated to the collection of foreign intelligence ... there is no longer meaningful judicial review."

But Timothy Edgar, a former top American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who joined the Director of National Intelligence in 2006 as a senior civil liberties official, said the process is "definitely not a rubber stamp." He told the Journal that the low level of rejections was down to the extent to which Justice lawyers vet all such requests before submitting them to the FISC.

Similarly, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Yale Law School's Media Freedom and Information Clinic Monday filed a motion with FISC, requesting that the court publish its legal opinions "evaluating the meaning, scope, and constitutionality of Section 215."

Do the surveillance programs overreach and violate Americans' privacy? Public opinion appears to favor, slightly, the current course of action. According to a Pew Research Center and Washington Postsurvey conducted from June 6 to 9, in response to the statement that "NSA has been investigating people suspected of terrorist involvement by secretly listening in on phone calls and reading emails without court approval," 51% of respondents said they found it acceptable, while 47% didn't. Meanwhile, 62% said that having the government investigate terrorist threats was more important safeguarding people's privacy, while 34% disagreed.

Several information security experts have suggested that if the surveillance programs are too broad, however, it's not the fault of the intelligence community. "The highest priority at the NSA is avoiding infringing on citizen's rights. I know none of you will believe me, but it's true," said Robert David Graham, CEO of Errata Security, in a blog post. "I'm regularly astonished by the degree to which they bend over backwards to protect [Americans'] privacy."

So if you want to blame someone, says Graham, look to Congress. "The rank and file of the NSA is not your enemy. They carry out the mission that politicians give them, and do not cross the line with an almost religious fervor," he said. "It's the politicians who have moved that line. It's every politician who voted to extend the Patriot Act and empower the FISA court that you have to fight."

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
moarsauce123
50%
50%
moarsauce123,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/13/2013 | 11:36:51 AM
re: NSA Prism: Patriot Act Author Questions Scope
Now Sensenbrenner is disturbed? Programs like Prism are EXACTLY what the Patriot Acts were intended for. So Sensenbrenner is one of the authors (or more correctly, someone who let someone else write everything and he slapped his name on it) and he has no clue which broad antidemocratic, unconstitutional powers the Patriot Acts include? Maybe before anything else is done we need to make sure that naive and delusional politicians are removed from Congress.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2015-4692
Published: 2015-07-27
The kvm_apic_has_events function in arch/x86/kvm/lapic.h in the Linux kernel through 4.1.3 allows local users to cause a denial of service (NULL pointer dereference and system crash) or possibly have unspecified other impact by leveraging /dev/kvm access for an ioctl call.

CVE-2015-1840
Published: 2015-07-26
jquery_ujs.js in jquery-rails before 3.1.3 and 4.x before 4.0.4 and rails.js in jquery-ujs before 1.0.4, as used with Ruby on Rails 3.x and 4.x, allow remote attackers to bypass the Same Origin Policy, and trigger transmission of a CSRF token to a different-domain web server, via a leading space cha...

CVE-2015-1872
Published: 2015-07-26
The ff_mjpeg_decode_sof function in libavcodec/mjpegdec.c in FFmpeg before 2.5.4 does not validate the number of components in a JPEG-LS Start Of Frame segment, which allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (out-of-bounds array access) or possibly have unspecified other impact via craft...

CVE-2015-2847
Published: 2015-07-26
Honeywell Tuxedo Touch before 5.2.19.0_VA relies on client-side authentication involving JavaScript, which allows remote attackers to bypass intended access restrictions by removing USERACCT requests from the client-server data stream.

CVE-2015-2848
Published: 2015-07-26
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in Honeywell Tuxedo Touch before 5.2.19.0_VA allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests associated with home-automation commands, as demonstrated by a door-unlock command.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
What’s the future of the venerable firewall? We’ve invited two security industry leaders to make their case: Join us and bring your questions and opinions!