Government Says Secret Court Opinion on Law Underlying PRISM Program Needs to Stay Secret

In a rare public filing in the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the Justice Department today urged continued secrecy for a 2011 FISC opinion finding government surveillance to be unconstitutional. Significantly, the activities at issue were carried out under the controversial legal authority that underlies the National Security Agency’s recently-revealed PRISM program.EFF filed a suit under the Freedom of Information Act in August 2012, seeking disclosure of the FISC ruling. Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall revealed the existence of the opinion, which found that collection activities under FISA Section 702 “circumvented the spirit of the law” and violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. But, at the time, the Senators were not permitted to discuss the details publicly. Section 702 has taken on new importance this week, as it appears to form the basis for the extensive PRISM surveillance program reported recently in the Guardian and the Washington Post.
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/06/government-says-secret-court-opinion-law-underlying-prism-program-needs-stayGovernment Says Secret Court Opinion on Law Underlying PRISM Program Needs to Stay Secret
In a rare public filing in the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the Justice Department today urged continued secrecy for a 2011 FISC opinion finding government surveillance to be unconstitutional. Significantly, the activities at issue were carried out under the controversial legal authority that underlies the National Security Agency’s recently-revealed PRISM program.EFF filed a suit under the Freedom of Information Act in August 2012, seeking disclosure of the FISC ruling. Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall revealed the existence of the opinion, which found that collection activities under FISA Section 702 “circumvented the spirit of the law” and violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. But, at the time, the Senators were not permitted to discuss the details publicly. Section 702 has taken on new importance this week, as it appears to form the basis for the extensive PRISM surveillance program reported recently in the Guardian and the Washington Post.
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/06/government-says-secret-court-opinion-law-underlying-prism-program-needs-stayIn Light of NSA Revelations, Government Asks for More Time in EFF Surveillance Cases
In light of the confirmation of NSA surveillance of millions of Americans communications records, and especially the decision by the government to declassify and publicly release descriptions of the program, the government today asked the courts handling two EFF surveillance cases for some additional time to consider their options.The first notice comes in EFF’s Jewel v. NSA case (along with a companion case called Shubert v. Obama), which seeks to stop the spying and obtain an injunction prohibiting the mass collection of communications records by the government. While the Guardian importantly confirmed this with government documents on Wednesday and Thursday, we’ve been arguing for seven years in court that the NSA has been conducting the same type of dragnet surveillance. In the government’s motion, they ask the court to hold the case in abeyance and that the parties file a status report by July 12, 2013.
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/06/government-asks-more-time-eff-surveillance-casesWhy Metadata Matters
In response to the recent news reports about the National Security Agency’s surveillance program, President Barack Obama said today, “When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls.” Instead, the government was just “sifting through this so-called metadata.” The Director of National Intelligence James Clapper made a similar comment last night: “The program does not allow the Government to listen in on anyone’s phone calls. The information acquired does not include the content of any communications or the identity of any subscriber.”
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/06/why-metadata-matters

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