NSA Eagle

Later this week, the House of Representatives is once again voting on whether or not to extend the authorities in Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act—a surveillance law with a rich history of government overreach and abuse, along with two other PATRIOT Act provisions, and possibly, an amendment.

Congress considered several bills to reauthorize and reform Section 215 earlier this year, but the law expired on March 15 without renewal. In the days before that deadline, the House of Representatives passed the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act, without committee markup or floor amendments, which would have extended Section 215 for three more years, along with some modest reforms. However, the Senate failed to reach an agreement on the bill, allowing the authorities to expire.

As we have written before, if Congress can’t agree on real reforms to these problematic laws, they should remain expired. A savings clause in the expired law gives intelligence agencies some, limited ongoing ability to use the authority, and  the government has plenty of other surveillance tools at its disposal. Allowing the law to expire rather than rush into extending the authorities was a positive step.

But rather than hold hearings to determine what additional reforms are needed, earlier this month, the Senate considered amendments to the bill the House passed in March. The Lee-Leahy amendment, which passed overwhelmingly,  would strengthen the provisions regarding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s (FISC) appointment of amici, outside experts to independently analyze surveillance requests that are particularly sensitive.

Another amendment, sponsored by Senators Wyden and Daines, failed 59-37, one vote short of the required 60. This amendment would have clarified that Section 215 cannot be used to obtain an individuals’ Internet browsing or search history.

In our view, it was already clear that Section 215 could never lawfully be used to obtain browsing and search history information. Numerous courts, including the FISC itself, have found that browsing and search history constitute the “content” of communications. And, as the Supreme Court in Riley v. California explained, “Internet search and browsing history, for example, can be found on an Internet-enabled phone and could reveal an individual’s private interests or concerns — perhaps a search for certain symptoms of disease, coupled with frequent visits to WebMD.” This data implicates an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy, and a warrant is therefore required. In light of this precedent, it is difficult to imagine Internet companies complying with a Section 215 order for browsing history, given that most companies—including Google, Facebook, Comcast, and other giants—require the government to produce a warrant before handing over the contents of communications. And even if the government did seek to use Section 215 in this way, the FISC would be obligated to appoint an amicus to argue against this novel interpretation of the law; any opinion the FISC reached would need to be declassified and released (and no opinion like that exists, to our knowledge). So, while it was already clear to us that Section 215 could never allow the government to collect such information, the Wyden-Daines amendment would have made this crystal clear.

After the Wyden-Daines amendment failed, the Senate passed the underlying bill 80-16, and sent it back to the House once more. Given that the Wyden-Daines amendment only failed by one vote, it’s no surprise that lawmakers on the House side are pushing for a vote on a similar amendment. Now called the Lofgren-Davidson Amendment, House leaders have made a deal to consider the amendment and are working with the sponsors on final text. Both the Lofgren-Davidson amendment and the underlying bill are expected to be on the House floor later this week.

If the amendment and the underlying bill passes the House, the Senate would have to approve the new language before the bill gets sent to the President for his signature.

Congress should feel no pressure to reauthorize any of the provisions. Even without Section 215, the government still has a wide range of surveillance tools at its disposal, and Congress should take the time to ensure that meaningful reforms— reforms that address the torrent of surveillance abuses that have come to light over the past year— are added to the bill. The Lee-Leahy amendment and the Wyden-Daines amendments are commonsense additions. But they do not cure the bill’s underlying shortcomings or fix some of the most egregious problems with FISA. Congress should make additional changes to the legislation to ensure that our national security surveillance laws are not abused and adequately protect civil liberties.

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I’ve been informed that there’s many apps in various app stores to track people during coronavirus pandemic. Right now (May 24), there’s more than 5.3 million cases of coronavirus and near 350 thousand people are dead.

I believe many of them were also tracked, not only by these apps, but by Google and Apple too. Apple and Google are helping governments to track people‘s location status. This tracking technology release is an obvious violation of privacy.

People are convinced that these technologies and tracking is helping them but disadvantages of it is far more than its benefits. While people can be informed of the dangers in various ways that are not violation of privacy, these corporations are collecting personal information, obviously not to help people but for their own benefits.

People should be able to be safe without their basic rights being violated. Privacy is one these basic rights. Nobody should be forced to destroy its privacy. No matter what are the reasons.

Général Toussaint Louverture

Few days ago, May 20, was the birthday of Général Toussaint Louverture.

Born 20 May 1743, Louverture was a former slave who would lead the Haitian Revolution that would defeat the French and Spanish colonizers and established the first free, Black republic shortly after his death in 1804. Louverture led the anti-slavery uprising in his country into a war for independence, using his political and military genius against colonial forces led by Napoleon, one of the greatest military commanders of all time.

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I believe we should all work to ensure human rights and freedom of speech. Women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, black rights, workers’ rights, etc. All are human rights. We cannot forget other societies under the pretext of supporting one society.

What I do believe in is that every human being that fights for its rights, is a great soldier and a future maker. The war is not finished. This is a war against those who still can’t accept that slavery is over.

But today’s slavery is different. In today’s world, people are slaves of capitalism. People are slaves of those who believe women are less than men. We see this everyday in our lives.

Women are paid less than men in a same job. Women are still considered housekeepers by default. There’s still silly talks that men don’t have emotions. Workers are still being oppressed by the rich. Many people have sexuality that is not respected.

We should not fight for black rights; we should not fight for LGBTQ rights; what should we do is fighting for humans because we all are humans. Every human being, no matter what its job, sexuality, financial status, color, nationality, ethnicity, etc. is, should be respected and treated fair and equal.

Don’t watch TV coverage of Covid-19! (Or “social media”; the details are different.) Watching repetitive coverage of something frightening can interfere with clear thinking, even traumatize people.

TV news coverage of a crisis struggles to fill 24 hours a day with “information”, notwithstanding the fact that the actual flow of new information about the crisis is nowhere near sufficient to fill that time. What do they do? They repeat. They present tangential and minor details. They make the same points in different ways. They belabor the obvious. They repeat.

If your goal is to be informed, you don’t need to dwell on the crisis for hours every day. Not even one hour a day. Getting your news in this inefficient matter will waste a lot of time — and worse.

In addition, it will make you more and more anxious. Someone I knew in 2001, who lived in California. spent all day on Sep 11 and following days watching the TV coverage. Afterward perse was afraid to go outside, watching for terrorist airplanes. TV made it possible for per to be traumatized by events 3000 miles away.

That was an unusually strong case. Most people did not get so traumatized as that. That does not imply it did not affect them. I suspect that the TV coverage may have shifted millions of people’s perceptions, so that they overestimated the danger of terrorism while downplaying the danger of laws that take away freedom. This would have smoothed the path for careless passage of the dangerous USA PAT RIOT Act and its massive surveillance.

In any a good, general textual news site, you can read the things you really want to know about Covid-19 in 10 or 20 minutes a day. Then you won’t fall behind on your work, and you won’t be brainwashed into panic.

Keep calm and carry on!

(original post)

There’s daily reports about violating people’s privacy during Cornoavirus pandemic and some of these violations are happening because of proprietary apps provided by governments which keep track of people to control them. The idea of government keeping people safe by forcing them to stay home is something I can’t disagree with but governments are not trustworthy and there’s a high risk that they (governments) keep these data/profiles even after pandemic.

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You’ll not be safe if others are not as clean as they should be, to fight Coronavirus. Please help others to access health supplies. Even if you survive this, if others don’t, you’ll live alone for rest of your life.

You should be worried about this virus but you got to be smart too. Please spread the word and help people to stay healthy. Keep social distancing, don’t touch your face, wash your hands and body regularly, and help others do the same.