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Blog

FISA Reauthorization Bill Is a Mixed Bag

Widespread controversy over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance and Accountability Act (FISA) continues, as the December 31 deadline for reauthorization is fast-approaching. Politicians and civil liberties groups alike have worked for several years, particularly since the revelations made by Edward Snowden, in an attempt to strike a balance between privacy and national security. FISA has been a centerpiece of this discussion, and its reauthorization discussions have brought it once again to the forefront.

10/09/2017
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Op-ed Placement

Congress Might Expand the Patriot Act to Areas that Have Nothing To Do with Terrorism

Last summer, there was a legislative effort in the House of Representatives to expand the USA Patriot Act, the controversial post-Sept. 11 anti-terrorism law. Thankfully, the effort failed. But there are rumors from staffers on Capitol Hill that Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., the lead sponsor of the bill that failed last year, is currently shopping a new version in anticipation of reintroduction.

09/09/2017
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Issue Analysis

FreedomWorks' Principles for FISA Reform

The current authorization for Title VII, including the controversial Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), will expire on December 31, 2017. Discussion of reauthorization with reform has already begun in the House. In the Senate, however, Republican members of the Select Committee on Intelligence have backed legislation that would permanently reauthorize FISA without any reform.

08/17/2017
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Blog

A Digital Bill of Rights to Protect You from Government Backdoors

Over the past several decades cars have become increasingly high tech allowing for computers to take larger roles in the routine functions of the car. Computerized functions have been a boon to consumers, who gain greater reliability and efficiently, but it has also increased the vulnerability to criminal hacking.

06/19/2017
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Blog

Getting Rid of Comey Is Only the Start

Today, President Trump announced his choice for the new leader of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). While his choice of candidate has generally been well received by commentators on both side of the isle it is unlikely he will implement the needed reforms to the FBI. While Jim Comey and the FBI have been grabbing headlines over the past year, few pundits, or politicians are seriously talking about the true threat surrounding the national police force.

06/07/2017
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Blog

From My Cold Dead Keyboard

The global community has been rocked by tragedy after tragedy over the last several weeks, but few instances have captured the international spotlight as readily as the recent attacks in London . The international community was quick to offer their support to the beleaguered Britain, but a troubling response came from that nation's own leader.

06/05/2017
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Blog

The Digital Age Warrants Constitutional Protections

In the majority opinion for the unanimous Court in Riley v. California (2014), Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.” This “go get a warrant” sentiment is echoed again and again in more recent cases involving cell phone privacy. By taking a closer look at how exactly a search warrant works, it becomes increasingly clear that this protection is needed now more than ever as we enter the digital age.

07/19/2016
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Blog

Ruling Celebrated as Fourth Amendment Victory Leaves Unanswered Questions

A federal judge in New York ruled for the first time on Tuesday that the use of a surveillance device to capture cell phone location information constitutes a warrantless search. In the case, Lambis v. United States, government officials used a stingray device to track a drug suspect. Stingrays, also known as “cell site simulators,” force cell phones in the area to transmit signals that pinpoint the user’s location through cell site location information, or CSLI data.

07/13/2016
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Blog

Legislation Combats IRS Abuse of Free Speech, Privacy Rights

This week, the House will consider a bill that would stop the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from collecting identifying information about donors to tax-exempt organizations. The IRS, in repeatedly using tax disclosures to create political targets, has prompted a chilling effect on First Amendment rights and political free speech.

06/13/2016
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Blog

With Unanimous Passage through the House, the Email Privacy Act will Modernize Online Data Privacy

Back in the 1980s, everyone was walking around with their perms and mullets, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson were playing sold out concerts, and people still couldn’t believe that Darth Vader was Luke’s father (spoilers). Clearly, things have changed a lot since then, yet, curiously, privacy standards regarding emails have not. While email certainly wasn’t a dominant form of communication back in the 80’s, the computer revolution that our society has undergone makes online data and information more valuable than ever. It’s time for our privacy standards, then, to reflect the new and ever-more-digitized world we live in.

04/28/2016

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