Last week, OpenTheGovernment.org and thirteen other organizations wrote to the House leadership and asked them to restore the government transparency provisions of the original USA FREEDOM Act in order to “to verify that the NSA actually ends bulk collection instead of finding new loopholes to exploit.” Instead, House leadership engaged in closed-door negotiations with the intelligence community, and introduced new loopholes into the bill’s priv
OpenTheGovernment.org and thirteen other organizations wrote to the House and Senate leadership yesterday, asking them to restore the USA FREEDOM Act’s government transparency provisions before final passage of the bill. The letter concludes, “[w]e recognize that some compromises were necessary to move any surveillance bill to the floor. But they increase the importance of restoring the transparency provisions of the original USA FREEDOM Act, to verify that the NSA actually ends bulk collection instead of finding new loopholes to exploit.
A weakened version of the USA Freedom Act unanimously passed through the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and reportedly was approved today by the House Permanent Committee on Intelligence—clearing the way for the bill to be debated on the House Floor. But the bill omits critical government reporting requirements included in the original USA FREEDOM Act as introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont).
At our Sunshine Week event this year, the panelists drew comparisons between the revelations stemming from the 1971 break-in to an FBI field office and the documents obtained by Edward Snowden. The new documentary 1971 takes an even closer look at the break-in and oversight efforts that followed.
In September 2013, The Guardian, New York Times, and ProPublica jointly revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had exerted its influence to weaken the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) cryptographic standards.
Forty organizations joined the Center for Democracy and Technology in a letter to urge swift markup and passage of the USA FREEDOM Act (HR 3361). Among other things, the bill would prohibit bulk collection of all data under Section 215 and 214 and the National Security Letter statutes and preserve the requirement of prior court approval. Read the letter here.
During the Nation FOI Day Celebration at the Newseum on Friday, March 14 we brought together a panel of reporters and policy-makers to talk past and present leaks of information about US surveillance programs, the effects on society in these cases, and resulting reforms in intelligence policy and practice. In particular, panelists discussed the similarities and differences between the 1971 break-in to the Media, PA FBI Field Office, which eventually contributed to the creation of the Church Committee, and the revelations made by Edward Snowden, which has already spawned some reform efforts in Congress. Below are a few of our major take-aways from the program and video of the panel.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press hosted a panel on the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies’ report. The panel featured experts in the journalism, legal, and technological fields. The discussion can be viewed in full here.
Please see OpenTheGovernment.org's statement on the PCLOB Report here.
We applaud the strong transparency recommendations from the PCLOB in its January 23, 2014 Report. The Board took an important and clearly stated stand for the public’s right to know the legal interpretations and authorities that inform domestic data collection programs by the intelligence community. Early on, the board notes the critical balancing act the intelligence community must perform in its duties to protect the public without keeping it in the dark: “both openness and secrecy are vital to our survival, and we must strive to develop and implement intelligence programs in ways that serve both values.”