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Monday, 30th December 2013

Bulk Data Collection and Electronic Surveillance by the United States National Security Agency

Source: Center for Democracy & Technology

Issue Summary:

The U.S. has engaged in ongoing mass surveillance of the world's Internet users. In place of individualized suspicion and targeted collection required by the ICCPR, the secret U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”) approves bulk surveillance programs which permit the NSA to systematically collect communications data from the global data flows that transverse U.S. networks or are stored in U.S. based "cloud" service providers. The relevant publicly enacted laws do not provide adequate authority for these programs, which operate under enormous secrecy, depriving the public of critical public debate and the ability to know under what circumstances their communications may be accessed. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) programs are supported by secret legal interpretations, further weakening oversight. Safeguards to protect rights of people within the U.S. are inadequate under the U.S. Constitution. No safeguards are provided to non-Americans outside of the U.S. The result is a surveillance regime that violates U.S. obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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