Court Tells FBI To Reveal More Info About Its Digital Wiretapping Program

from the going-dark dept

The FBI has been pushing to get more powers to wiretap newer digital forms of communication — some of which are supposed to be encrypted end-to-end — for quite some time. It’s been working with various companies to try to get backdoors, while also pushing for legislation to compel companies to comply. It is known that the FBI has a program called “Going Dark” to tap digital communications. The EFF sought information on Going Dark with a series of Freedom of Information Act requests, which generally turned up heavily redacted documents that revealed very little. In response, the EFF went to court… and the court has now said that the feds need to reveal more. First, the court said that the government appeared to go overboard in leaving out info:

the Government is directed to conduct a further review of the materials previously withheld as non-responsive. In conducting such review, the presumption should be that information located on the same page, or in close proximity to undisputedly responsive material is likely to qualify as information that in “any sense sheds light on, amplifies, or enlarges upon” the plainly responsive material, and that it should therefore be produced, absent an applicable exemption.

Separately, the court said that the index of info provided has problems, not necessarily in the index itself, but the way it’s presented seems purposely designed to stifle the EFF’s efforts to understand the exemptions by overloading the info, without clearly highlighting what applies to what:

As plaintiff points out, however, the large number of different types of documents included in each summary entry in the index, and the fact that multiple exemptions are claimed, makes analysis difficult, despite the veneer of detail. The supporting declaration covers 171 pages (with a great deal of repetition) purportedly explaining the justification for all of the exemptions claims, but does not identify documents by bates numbers or otherwise, further exacerbating the problem.

As such, the court has ordered the feds to try again:

the existing index is insufficient to provide an adequate foundation for review of the soundness of the exemption claims. Accordingly, the FBI is directed to provide a revised index as promptly as practical, making a good faith effort to address the issues raised by EFF.

This is the “most transparent administration in history”? Withholding excess info and making sure the info sent over is as tough as possible to review?

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Comments on “Court Tells FBI To Reveal More Info About Its Digital Wiretapping Program”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Say What?

Just whose side is the Executive branch on?

Are you old enough to remember events from 1975-76? Do you remember the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, chaired by Idaho’s Senator Frank Church? The ?Church committee? and its reports?

If you have time, you should read through, ?Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans, Book II? of the Church committee final report.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is the “most transparent administration in history”?

Yes, my America-despising friend. Even if this one request doesn’t go as you and the muckraker-malcontents think it necessarily must go, that doesn’t mean that the President is not operating the most transparent administration in history. I know, I know. Why let logic get in the way of your FUD-filled, anti-America-and-everything-about-it rants?

Grrr! Tech above all else! I bet you’ve had your Guy Fawkes mask on all day. 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

In all fairness, for many of us, it’s transparently clear that this President and his administration are one of the worst we’ve had in a long time.

Maybe that’s false, but as far as transparency goes, they’ve had little trouble letting everyone know just how terrible they are. Bush was perhaps much better at hiding it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Expecting better government, one that protects civil liberties and respects the constitution is the opposite of “America despising.”

LMAO! Nobody hates America and whines about it more than you. Every day, post after post, complaining about the judicial, executive, and legislative branches.

Nice dodge on my point though which is that you threw out the 100% FUD statement that because Obama is not as transparent here as you think he should be then that means he’s not the “most transparent administration in history.”

Talk about faith-based, idiotic, anti-American FUD. Sadly, that seems to be all you’re good for. Who are you voting for today, none of the above? There must be some communist country you could move to where you’d be more at home. On second thought, I’m sure you’d just whine all day about them too. Oh well.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Nobody hates America and whines about it more than you. Every day, post after post, complaining about the judicial, executive, and legislative branches.”

The judicial, executive, and legislative branches aren’t “America”, they’re the people Americans have put in charge of running America. If those people do a shit job, they can expect Americans to complain about it.

Maybe you’re the bend-over-and-take-it type, but thankfully many aren’t.

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