EFF in the News
“I think what’s next is for the Senate to take up USA Freedom and potentially strengthen it,” said Mark M. Jaycox, legislative analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF recently pulled its support of the FREEDOM Act as it’s currently written, hoping for stronger reforms to be written into the bill, while applauding the Second Circuit court ruling. “The Senate has less than two weeks to get its act together. Senator McConnell can prove that the Senate is a functional body under his leadership by quickly supporting, and moving, for a vote on USA Freedom,” Jaycox said.
“I think what’s important is that it adds to the growing consensus that digital information triggers different legal requirements, or that it requires a different sort of analysis, in that you can’t just analogize to a backpack. Your suitcase and your clothes are not the same thing as your computer,” said Hanni Fakhoury, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation
Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed papers in support of Vargas, said he and the EFF are pleased that the Justice Department has decided to drop the case.
"Prolonged warrantless video surveillance of the exterior of a person's home violates the Fourth Amendment as the District Court correctly found."
The problem is that the USA Freedom Act is also a confusing conglomeration of vague clauses and definitions that some lawyers think could allow the NSA to twist and warp in secret to allow them to continue to abuse the privacy of the American people. Given the courts have already gutted the NSA’s convoluted legal arguments, Congress now needs to go much further and remove any doubt from USA Freedom’s language. (The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union have both withdrawn support from the House’s version of USA Freedom for this very reason.)
The Electronic Frontier Foundation endorsed the bill but said it did not go far enough.
"This bill would be another important step in bringing much needed transparency to the Intelligence Community," said Sophia Cope, a staff attorney with the EFF. "However, more needs to be done to enable fully effective public oversight. The public has a right to know, for example, how much the intelligence agencies are spending on surveillance and in researching, buying and exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities."
Nadia Kayyali, an activist with the civil liberties group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, was frustrated after arriving 20 minutes late to the meeting, only to find out the item had been postponed.
“This is the second time this has happened, in a city with a real lack of trust between the elected representatives and the people,” Kayyali said, noting that the policy first appeared on a public safety committee agenda in February, but was delayed then, too.
Hanni Fakhoury, senior staff attorney for Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, said the opinion wasn’t “binding” like an Appellate or Supreme Court decision that requires other courts have to follow suit. “But it’s persuasive because it adds to the growing body of case law that says digital devices are different,” he said.
“Somehow, they convinced the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which is supposed to prevent this from happening, that you cannot do this kind of data-mining without all the records, so all the records are relevant,” says Lee Tien, a senior lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit privacy-rights group based in San Francisco. “It’s hard to believe. How can you use a statute that has a ‘relevant’ standard to do a blanket collection?”
When a panel of federal judges from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the NSA's bulk-phone records spying program was illegal, it was a legal game-changer, but what, exactly, does it all mean? The Electronic Frontier Foundation's legal analysis is the best, easiest-to-understand and most comprehensive article I've yet seen on the ruling.
“That’s exactly why they’re making it secret—Obama’s response to critics was, word for word, ‘They don’t know what they’re talking about,’” Maira Sutton, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s global policy analyst, told me. “And yes, we don’t know exactly what we’re talking about, because it’s secret. For them to say that these rules are legitimate as they’re being negotiated in secret, with disclosures to corporate advisors who can see and comment on the text, we cannot trust that what is in there is in the public interest.”