Related Insights

Responding to the DOJ’s FAQ on the Use of NSLs to Compel Communications Providers to Produce ECTRs

The Department of Justice is circulating a “frequently asked questions” document on its proposal to expand the use of “national security letters” (NSLs), which are issued without prior court review, to cover requests for “electronic communication transactional records,” or “ECTRs.” The DOJ’s ECTR proposal could permit the FBI, at its sole discretion, to compel communications providers to turn over, among other things, email header information, text logs, and web browsing history in national security investigations. The DOJ’s FAQ contains a number of misstatements, to which we respond below.

Read More

Comments to DHS on Proposal to Ask Visa Waiver Applicants for Social Media Identifiers

The Department of Homeland Security proposes to request disclosure of social media identifiers and other online account information from Visa Waiver Program applicants. CDT is deeply concerned that this proposal would invade the privacy and chill the freedom of expression of visitors to the United States and United States citizens.

Read More

Comments on FBI’s Proposed Exemption from the Privacy Act for Next Generation Identification System

The Center for Democracy and Technology (“CDT”) respectfully submits these comments urging the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) to reconsider the proposal in CPCLO Order No. 003-2016 to broadly exempt the Next Generation Identification (“NGI”) biometric system1 from key provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974.2 CDT also offers comments on the modified system of records notice in CPCLO Order No. 002-2016.

Read More

A Deep Dive on the Final CISA Guidelines

The Departments of Homeland Security and Justice have been busy since February. Last week, they issued final guidance mandated by the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (“CISA”)—the law that provided broad liability protections for private companies that share cyber threat information with the government (or among themselves), which is then disseminated to various government agencies, including entities…

Read More

Correcting the Record: The ECTR “Fix”

Last week, Senators John McCain and John Cornyn proposed an amendment to an appropriations bill that would have permitted the FBI to obtain sensitive information, such as email records and browsing history, without a court order. While the amendment failed to meet the required sixty-vote threshold for moving forward, another vote is expected in the coming days on this proposed massive expansion of the FBI’s authority. Before it does, it is important to dispel several misconceptions that arose during the debate about the FBI’s access to the records at issue, “electronic communication transactional records” (ECTRs).

Read More

Letter Opposing "ECTR Fix"

CDT submitted a letter to US Senators urging them to oppose an amendment to the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Act for FY 2017 that would expand national security letter (“NSL”) authority to permit the acquisition of sensitive electronic communications transactional records without prior court review. Dubbed the “ECTR Fix” amendment, the McCain-Cornyn amendment doesn’t “fix” anything.

Read More

Why CDT Supports the Massie-Lofgren Amendment

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bipartisan amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 5293) offered by Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). CDT strongly supports this amendment, which passed overwhelmingly in the House in 2014 and 2015, because it would protect the privacy of U.S. persons and the cybersecurity of all internet users.

Read More

Extension Necessary to Submit Comments Regarding FBI’s Proposal to Exempt ID Database from Key Provisions of Privacy Act

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is in the process of deploying a vast new biometric database called the Next Generation Identification system, and although the system has been in the works since 2008, the FBI only recently released details about the system’s operation, and has given the public only 30 days to comment. CDT joined 45 other civil liberties and privacy groups in asking the FBI for more time.

Read More