Privacy advocates say those secret deliberations have created a black box that keeps the public from seeing both why the government makes key surveillance decisions and how it justifies them. But the new law passed by Congress last week may shed some new light on these matters. "The larger step that the USA Freedom Act accomplishes is that it is bringing those things out to the public," says Mark Jaycox, a legislative analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy advocacy group. The new law mandates that FISA court rulings that create "novel and significant" changes to surveillance law be declassified—and it is up to the judges to determine if the cases reach that threshold—though only after review by the attorney general and the director of national intelligence. While FISA court rulings have been leaked and occasionally declassified, the new law marks the first time Congress has attempted to make the court's decisions available to the public.
Friday, June 12, 2015