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Patriot Act Reform Debate Heats Up

In two letters sent to Congress today, the Obama Department of Justice announced its support for reauthorization of three expiring provisions of the 2001 Patriot Act and its willingness to consider civil liberties amendments that do not diminish the effectiveness of the expiring provisions. Its openness to amendments is a good sign, and we look forward to working with…

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What’s Up With Einstein?

Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee reported a bill that would require the government to disclose information about the intrusion detection system for government computers that has been dubbed, “Einstein.” Section 340 of the Intelligence Committee’s Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2010 (S. 1494) would require the government to report to Congress about privacy impact of Einstein, the legal…

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Surveillance Program Overly Secret and Its Importance Overblown

A report released today by the Inspectors General of key intelligence agencies shows that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by President Bush was overly secret, its importance overstated, and its product underutilized. While the report reveals new tidbits about the President’s personal involvement in the surveillance activities, it leaves unanswered many questions about the scope of the program,…

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CRS Weekly Report: Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative

The Congressional Research Service is a $100 million a year think tank that researches and writes informative and non-partisan reports on topics suggested by members of Congress. The catch–and the reason you might not have read their work–is that CRS reports are only made easily available to members of Congress. Citizens can request these reports from lawmakers, but without…

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PASS ID Act Offers REAL Reforms

Today legislation was introduced in Congress to provide a much needed overhaul of the REAL ID program by Senators Akaka (D-HI), Baucus (D-MT), Carper (D-DE), Tester (D-MT), and Voinovich (R-OH) the new bill is known as the Providing for Additional Security in States' Identification (PASS ID) Act of 2009. Since its inception in 2005, REAL ID has long…

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Email Privacy Rights, Electronic Search and Seizure Before Court

CDT recently signed on to an amicus brief being spearheaded by Electronic Frontier Foundation in the second round of United States v. Warshak, a case that could have major ramifications for email privacy rights and electronic search and seizure processes. The court is deciding whether the government can evade probable cause standards through the use of mandatory data…

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Cybersecurity Bill Jumpstarts Debate

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009, S. 773, introduced by Senators Rockefeller (D-WV) and Snowe (R-ME), has kicked off what promises to be an intense debate over the federal government’s cybersecurity policy. There’s broad consensus about the goal – better security for both governmental and private sector critical infrastructure information systems – but not much agreement about how to achieve…

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Why the NSA Should Not Lead Cybersecurity Government-Wide

UPDATE: At the RSA conference in San Francisco today, NSA Director Keith Alexander disavowed any interest by his agency in directing cybersecurity efforts outside of national security systems. Whether Alexander was engaging in damage control or whether his remarks truly represent a shift in Administration policy remains to be seen. Alexander also spoke of the…

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