A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency bulk telephony data program likely violates the Fourth Amendment, characterizing a court case key to the program's legal underpinnings as irrelevant in an era of ubiquitous telecommunication. Official reaction to the ruling has been terse.
The executive branch of the European Union in November released a report criticizing implementation of the framework, which allows American companies to attest they meet the union's data protection requirements and so legally process Europeans' data.
The legal justification for intelligence community storage of bulk telephone metadata rests heavily on a 1979 court case, a Justice Department official acknowledged to a Senate panel Wednesday--a case that one Supreme Court justice has said may require revisiting in light of technological developments.
The United Kingdom accomplished many of its goals on progressing digital government services in 2013. The transformation over the past year spurred Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude to call the UK a "world leader" in digital during a Dec. 10 briefing—even drawing comparisons between the UKs digital services and the failed launch of healthcare.gov in the United States.
The extent to which governments can compel digital and telecommunication services providers to hand over data has become the source of renewed controversy since former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden leaked a trove of classified documents to media outlets earlier this year.
"The intelligence community is not designed and built for transparency. We're designed and built for the opposite," said Alexander Joel, the ODNI's civil liberties protection officer. He spoke on a panel at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies Dec. 4.
Even without the financial oversight responsibilities the Treasury Department would receive under the House-approved version of the DATA Act (H.R. 2061), the department intends to standardize the subset of agency financial reporting it already controls, said a Treasury Department official.
The Internet of Things--a state in the not distant future when hundreds of billions of devices now disconnected from computer networks will routinely transmit data across the web--will require a new privacy paradigm, says the Future of Privacy Forum. A notice and choice paradigm will be unrealistic under those conditions, says the white paper.
The House passed Nov. 19 the DATA Act (H.R. 2061), which requires federal agencies and departments to release more complete and higher-quality spending data. The bill also shifts oversight of federal spending transparency dashboard USASpending.gov from the Office of Management and Budget to the Treasury Department.
Intelligence officials Wednesday said they oppose a law that would require them to disclose the number of Americans whose communications are swept up in surveillance of foreigners on the grounds that there's no reliable way to do so. During a Nov. 13 Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing, ODNI General Counsel Robert Litt said counting the number of affected Americans "is operationally very difficult, at least without an extraordinary investment of resources and maybe not even then."