Related Insights

Coalition Letter Calling for Improvements to USA Liberty Act

CDT and dozens of other digital rights groups released a letter calling on Congress to improve the USA Liberty Act by closing the backdoor search loophole that the bill leavers open. Using this loophole, the US government searches the communications content of US persons without obtaining a warrant. It does this by combing through the millions of communications it seizes every year under the authority Congress gave it in Section 702 of FISA to conduct surveillance of foreigners outside the U.S.

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Simplifying Section 702 and the EU-US Privacy Shield

The E.U.-U.S. Privacy Shield agreement assists in the free flow of commerce by allowing companies to transfer data between the European Union and the United States, but it could be in jeopardy if U.S. surveillance law is not reformed. The Privacy Shield agreement was built on assurances that the U.S. would not subject Europeans’ data to “indiscriminate mass surveillance.”

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Section 702: Simplifying the Backdoor Search Loophole

Although U.S. persons cannot be targeted under Section 702, their communications with non-U.S. persons can be collected and retained for years. The NSA, CIA, and FBI can query 702-acquired information using a U.S.-person identifier, without a warrant or court order. This loophole allows the government to bypass the Fourth Amendment’s protection against warrantless searches.

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Section 702: What It Is & How It Works

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is a statute that authorizes the collection, use, and dissemination of electronic communications content stored by U.S. internet service providers (such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft) or traveling across the internet’s “backbone” (with the compelled assistance of U.S. telecom providers such as AT&T and Verizon). Section 702 sunsets on December 31, 2017.

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Statement for Senate Hearing On Oversight and Reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act

CDT’s Greg Nojeim submitted a statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee for their hearing on “Oversight and Reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act.” In the statement, he summarizes the privacy and civil liberties concerns presented by surveillance under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and offers policy recommendations for addressing those concerns.

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Warrantless Surveillance under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act: Myths and Facts

On October 6, 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued a judgment invalidating the EU-US Safe Harbor Agreement, the legal basis upon which thousands of US companies had relied in order to transfer European users’ data to the United States for processing and/or storage. Elements of the US government have long sought to portray Section 702 surveillance as limited and protective of privacy. This explainer by CDT and other civil society groups on the myths and realities of warrantless Section 702 surveillance sets the record straight about Section 702.

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