Trump Administration Wants A Clean Reauthorization For NSA Surveillance

from the because-of-course-it-does dept

Considering the new administration has stepped up its ousting of immigrants, expressed its disinterest in pursuing civil rights investigations of the nation’s law enforcement agencies, applauded asset forfeiture, and declared war on leakers, it comes as no surprise the White House supports a clean reauthorization of Section 702 surveillance.

The Trump administration does not want to reform an internet surveillance law to address privacy concerns, a White House official told Reuters on Wednesday, saying it is needed to protect national security.

The announcement could put President Donald Trump on a collision course with Congress, where some Republicans and Democrats have advocated curtailing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, parts of which are due to expire at the end of the year.

Section 702 has dodged reform efforts, thanks in part to the intelligence community’s unwillingness to discuss anything about it. Repeated requests by representatives for the NSA to come up with an estimate of how many US persons’ communications are swept up “inadvertently” have been met with shrugs and stalling. Five years after he was first asked, James Clapper promised to have something put together “soon.” We’re still waiting.

Not helping the matter is the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board’s evaluation of the program. After finding the Section 215 phone metadata program both useless and illegal, it had very little to say about the NSA’s internet backbone dragnet. The best it could offer was that it was likely legal and any collection of US persons’ communications was probably “inadvertent.” It agreed the massive collection program ran right up against the edges of the Fourth Amendment, but didn’t cross it — at least as far as it was willing to examine.

Unfortunately, there will be no follow-up arriving before the reauthorization period closes. The PCLOB is mostly dead and unlikely to be revived by an administration looking for a no-questions-asked rubber stamping of Section 702’s five-year renewal. Given that the unanswered questions about domestic surveillance weren’t answered in time for the 2012 renewal debate, it’s highly probable the Director of National Intelligence’s office won’t be providing these numbers to Congressional representatives ahead of the December deadline.

Hopefully, there will be a more organized push back against a clean reauthorization. Thanks to multiple leaks, Congressional representatives should actually have some idea how much domestic surveillance occurs under this statute. It’s more critical than ever that the program receive a detailed examination before the vote, considering the outgoing president gave more than a dozen federal agencies access to unminimized data/communications collected by the NSA.

And Trump himself has seen no reason to roll that sharing back, despite his antipathy towards much of Obama’s orders and legislation. Ironically, his Saturday morning tweetstorm griping about the Trump Tower being “wire tapped” by Obama ahead of the November election. Once again, Trump has offered no proof of this claim, but even if taken at face value, it would be the byproduct of the Section 702 program he has stated he wants renewed with no changes. Communications with foreign persons is fair game under Section 702, even if the communications originate in the US. The FBI’s acquisition of these communications (if that’s what has happened) is specifically approved by the recent data-sharing program. Perhaps Trump might want to take a closer look at the program before attempting to shove it past inquistive legislators.

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Comments on “Trump Administration Wants A Clean Reauthorization For NSA Surveillance”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

are being done in order to establish "hey, they did it first!" / "everyone does this, what are you complaining about?" precedent for when Trump wants to surveil people using the same authority.

That’s what I thought it smelled like myself. I’m glad I’ve not slipped my leash and started seeing plots simply because I loathe the Donald John Trump administration. That animosity is due to direct and personal experience in two cases. Nothing like knowing from first hand experience just what kind of swamp scum you are dealing with.

OGquaker says:

Re: ask daddy

In late 1983, when I posited to my father (who I seldom saw) that on flight 007 the entire 747 under carriage was probably crammed with men & electronics and the passenger manifest was wacky, all he said was ‘Of course’.

Pop was working at Northrup on Edward Tellers StarWars then, and had been OSS in WWII, spent the 1950’s on Caltech’s ‘Project Vista’ (now the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit) and developing computerized image missile guidance.

Canada and US fighter planes had been taunting the Russians for many months that year.

morons panicking unite says:

to site owner

on your chat

That part where Google is going to allow ‘preemptive’ takedown of urls that don’t exist real?
hij: I wish we had a way to post side notes associated with upcoming stories to help point out typos….
Ninja: that silicon valley sexism article seems to be attracting some weirdness”

NOW see what ninja posted torrentfreak

ya know where they ban anyone no tinto fucking htere kids/parents and incest and kiddy porn is ok and how they keep posting any info so hollystupid can continue to whack the moles…..

be warned your support will drop off like a rock if you allow those sick puppies to migrate in to your inner circle

Anonymous Coward says:

What I see is sedition, and blood will spill on our streets like it never has before all is said and done. Take your witches and burn baby burn. Take your fake NYT, WP news and their new world order and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. Thank goodness they don’t control the Russian and Chinese banks, or half of the American electorate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

the problem with trump is that he does not talk like a snake oil salesman. He just straight up says I am going to fuck you.

that is about the ONLY difference. If you really need someone to sweet talk you right before they fuck you you can hire a prostitute for that, or just try to get Obama back in. I hear that lying politicians have been in season for the past 3 administrations.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Considering the new administration has stepped up its ousting of immigrants”. As I understand it the Obama administration deported over 400,000 individual illegals in 2013. I am sick to death of the haters, but you will reap what you sow. Watch out for the ones making all the noise and pointing fingers, they are just trying to cover their own asses.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re:

As I understand it the Obama administration deported over 400,000 individual illegals in 2013.

This is true, but I’m not sure how it contradicts the statement that the new administration has stepped up its ousting of immigrants.

I am sick to death of the haters, but you will reap what you sow.

What are you talking about?

Watch out for the ones making all the noise and pointing fingers, they are just trying to cover their own asses.

No, seriously, what are you talking about?

Relentless says:

Hypocrisy stands in the way of solutions

We have been neck-deep in this for so long. Don’t make this about Trump only because the hypocrisy is appalling. Even if you have to point the finger at his predecessor – Obama – for much of the foundation. Try and be objective and point out the decades long effort at surveillance.

While we’re at it, let’s talk about Google and Facebook and Windows 10 and Twitter and all the others. All operating without accountability, acting as the internet’s FCC while taking orders from big business partners and backdoor government agreements.

Let’s segue into Chinese backdoors too on nearly 80% of devices (IoT) coming out of there.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Hypocrisy stands in the way of solutions

Yes. If only Techdirt had talked about surveillance during the Obama Administration. Or Google, Facebook, Windows 10, or Twitter. Or addressed IoT vulnerabilities or Chinese spying.

Do you see the word "reauthorization" in the headline?

What do you suppose the "re-" at the beginning of that word means?

Hint: it’s an acknowledgement that this was already happening during the Obama Administration, you idiot.

JMT (profile) says:

Re: Hypocrisy stands in the way of solutions

“Don’t make this about Trump only…”

If you’re not going to acknowledge Techdirt’s long history of criticizing both government and corporate surveillance, or even worse, claim it didn’t happen, then you can just go piss off. We’re all for having honest discussions on the topic, but your comment is predicated on a blatant falsehood. Ignorance or a lie? You tell us…

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