CLOUD Act Enacted, Allows Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad

27 03 2018

President Trump has signed the CLOUD Act, requiring internet companies to hand over personal data to U.S. law enforcement agencies, no matter where that data is stored. The Act also allows the executive branch to create agreements with foreign countries to provide direct access to personal data stored in the United States. EPIC submitted an amicus brief in United States v. Microsoft arguing that law enforcement access to data abroad should be resolved by international consensus and comply with human rights norms. Many organizations and privacy experts have endorsed the Madrid Privacy Declaration, which would establish international protections for personal data.

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DHS Privacy Office Releases 2016 Report, Secret Profiling on the Rise

3 02 2018

The Department of Homeland Security has released the 2016 Annual Data Mining Report. The report describes several of the agency’s profiling systems that assign secret “risk assessments” to U.S. citizens. According to the DHS report, the Analytical Framework for Intelligence is accessible to several agency components, including the Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Coast Guard, and the Transportation Security Administration. Through a Freedom of information Act lawsuit, EPIC previously obtained important documents about the secretive scoring program. EPIC is now appealing EPIC v. DHS to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to compel the release of additional documents.

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US Courts Release Revised Report on FISA

1 02 2018

New Report on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Issued

Report of the Director of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on Activities of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has issued the 2016 report on activities of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The 2016 FISA report reveals that there were 1,752 FISA applications in 2016, of which 1,378 were granted, 339 were modified, 26 were denied in part, and 9 were denied in full. Scrutiny of FISA applications increased substantially in 2016. The FISA court denied more applications in 2016 than it had during the previous 36 years. In testimony before Congress in 2012, EPIC urged increased public reporting of the use of FISA authority to prevent abuse. Several of EPIC’s recommendations are reflected in the revised reporting requirements, following passage of the USA FREEDOM Act in June 2015.

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Trump Nominee to Head Privacy Board Favors Warrantless Surveillance

23 01 2018

Donald Trump has nominated Adam Klein to head the Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB). Klein, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, recently testified that Congress should not require agencies to obtain a court order to query data collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, facilitating warrantless surveillance. As Judge Patricia Wald recently stated in remarks at the EPIC Champions of Freedom Dinner, “an agency dedicated to protecting privacy and civil liberties inside the intelligence community with access to classified material is a uniquely valuable asset in the ever difficult search for the right balance between national security and democratic values.” EPIC recently urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to restore PCLOB to full strength.

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