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  • ACLU Report: FBI Violates Civil Liberties, Operates Unchecked Post-9/11 | Charity & Security Network
    to get special court orders allowing electronic surveillance of wide swaths of people so long as the target of the surveillance is a foreigner The true scope of this program has only recently come to light due to the Edward Snowden leaks More from CSN on NSA surveillance and its impact on nonprofits here The FBI itself has also loosened its procedures in the name of national security Amendments to the FBI s rulebook for investigations the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide DIOG allow Collecting and analyzing racial and ethnic community demographics and specific and relevant ethnic and racial behavior This mapping of communities based on color of their skin and their heritage raises concerns that once these communities are identified and mapped the FBI will target them for additional intelligence gathering or investigation Similar mapping undertaken by the NYPD against ethnic and religious minorities has sparked controversy Despite this massive shift towards data collection and away from adherence to civil liberties protections the FBI has little to show for actually preventing terrorist attacks In fact the report argues that the influx for false positives and arbitrary information has actually impeded FBI investigators ability to connect the dots on real threats The report cites examples such as Maj Nadal Hassan the Fort Hood shooter and Tamerland Tsarnaev the Boston bomber as cases where the FBI failed to recognize real threats despite previous investigations into the individuals The ACLU report concludes with recommendations for systemic changes inside the FBI and with applicable law This includes re writing the DIOG reforming the FISA Amendments Act and the Patriot Act to be more in line with Constitutional principles or free speech freedom of religion and due process FBI abuse of power must be met with efforts of reform just as much now as

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/studies/ACLU_Report_FBI_Violates_Civil_Liberties (2016-02-16)
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  • Brennan Center: Broad Data Collection on Americans Does Little to Stop Terrorism | Charity & Security Network
    border and National Security Agency The Federal Data Mining Reporting Act of 2007 requires federal agencies to report to Congress on their data mining activities As stated in this report one argument for retaining and sharing all information regardless of its immediate or likely value is that information can be analyzed to identify hard to see patterns that might predict terrorist activity However research has shown that acts of terrorism are so rare and disparate in origin that no regular pattern can be discerned based on a person s everyday activities According to this assessment this leaves government counterterrorism databases so cluttered with information analysis is impossible The report also finds that in many cases information carrying no apparent investigative value is treated no differently from information that does give rise to reasonable suspicion of criminal or terrorist activity raising the risk and likelihood of both innocent individuals and organizations being continuously targeted for their activism In order to preserve the government s ability to share critical information and safeguard the nation s security while simultaneously limiting the amount of innocuous information about innocent people that is kept and shared the report recommends the following reforms Ensure that policies governing the sharing and retention of information about Americans are accessible and transparent Prohibit the retention of domestically gathered data about Americans for law enforcement or intelligence purposes in the absence of reasonable suspicion of criminal activity Impose further limitations on the dissemination of personally identifiable information to better reflect First Amendment protected activity Reform of the Privacy Act of 1974 which has fallen short of protecting the privacy of Americans personal information and the establishment of an independent oversight board Increase of public oversight over the national Counterterrorism center a massive federal data repository that is increasingly engaged in large

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/studies/Data_Collection_Does_Little_Stop_Terrorism (2016-02-16)
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  • CSN Joins Lawsuit Against NSA | Charity & Security Network
    phone records and other meta data on American citizens This data could be used by the government to gain unprecedented insight into a group s or individual s associations According to EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn The First Amendment guarantees the freedom to associate and express political views as a group The NSA undermines that right when it collects without any particular target the phone records of innocent Americans and the organizations in which they participate Our ability to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians in crisis engage parties in armed conflict to build peace and carry on other projects is constrained by overbroad national security laws Kay Guinane Director of CSN said Now after learning that our members and operations are the subject of intrusive government surveillance we are pleased to join this lawsuit and ask the courts to put an end to these violations of our First Amendment rights See related NSA Surveillance and its Civil Society Implications Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial Action Task Force FATF Financial Access Peacebuilding Countering Violent Extremism Click Here For More Issues Solutions Principles to Guide Solutions Models to Draw On Proposed Solutions News The latest headlines Resources Litigation Analysis Background Legislation

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/CSN_Joins_NSA_Lawsuit (2016-02-16)
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  • Mounting Pressure to Rein in NSA Surveillance | Charity & Security Network
    White House and the ranking leadership of both parties nearly 50 percent of Representatives still supported it One of the Representatives who did vote for the amendment Rep Zoe Lofgren D CA released a letter last week in defense saying In short this amendment would not prohibit the government from spying on terrorists under Section 215 or from collecting information in bulk about American s under other legal provisions However the amendment would prevent the bulk collection of sensitive information on innocent Americans under Section 215 and important improvement This latest Congressional action against the NSA is part of a nationwide anti surveillance movement that has been become increasingly active since the Snowden disclosures In July the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit against the NSA on behalf of almost two dozen civil society groups In what had to be a historical first diverse groups with agendas ranging from gun rights to environmental protection to drug reform came together to oppose the NSA s surveillance They are all concerned about how the surveillance undermines their constitutional rights and could lead to a chilling effect in the public s willingness to engage with civil society groups For more information about the impact of surveillance on civil society see our blog post on the topic In late July the ACLU and other 60 civil society groups penned an open letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee to express their alarm over the surveillance programs That letter endorsed new legislation to prohibit bulk metadata collection programs such as the Patriot 215 program The bill is called the FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act and is co sponsored by Chairman Leahy and Senators Blumenthal and Lee A recent Washington Post ABC News Poll cast some light on the changing perception of NSA surveillance 74 percent

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/News/Mounting_Pressure_Against_Surveillance (2016-02-16)
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  • CRS Report: FBI Investigations Often Exceed Constitutional Restraints | Charity & Security Network
    and sharing activities with other law enforcement actors changes to the FBI s Domestic Investigations Operations Guide DIOG gives the agency more leeway to engage in proactive investigative work that does not depend on criminal predication Under the rules in the DIOG which went into effect in Oct 2011 preliminary investigations can be opened with any allegation or information indicative of possible criminal activity or threats to the national security Agents have the authority to use surveillance teams to investigate individuals and organizations without a search warrant or opening a formal investigation This has led to a glut in assessments According to the CRS report between March 2009 and March 2011 nearly half of the 82 325 assessments conducted focused on determining whether specific groups or individuals were spies or terrorists out of which less than 2 000 led to full or preliminary investigations The CRS report also notes that critics have voiced strong concerns about these Guidelines The Brennan Center for Justice released a study in 2011 that said that they tip the scales too far in favor of relatively unchecked government power allowing the FBI to sweep too much information about too many innocent people into the government s view In so doing they pose significant threats to Americans civil liberties and risk undermining the very counterterrorism efforts they are meant to further In its recommendations for Congress the CRS report suggests looking at the volume of intelligence reports the FBI produces annually For example in 2010 over 25 000 intelligence reports on counterterrorism counterintelligence and other topics were produced It may be of oversight interest to Congress to examine the value of these reports their accessibility within the intelligence and law enforcement communities and the views of various consumers about them Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/studies/CRS_FBI_Investigations_Exceed_Constitutional_Restraints (2016-02-16)
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  • Lawmakers and Activists Slam NSA over Secretly Collecting Phone Records | Charity & Security Network
    As Mark Rumold an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation told The Atlantic Wire This is confirmation of what we ve long feared that the NSA has been tracking the calling patterns of the entire country The American Civil Liberties Union put out a statement calling for an end to the program and an investigation into the order From a civil liberties perspective the program could hardly be any more alarming said Jameel Jaffer the ACLU s deputy legal director It is beyond Orwellian and it provides further evidence of the extent to which basic democratic rights are being surrendered in secret to the demands of unaccountable intelligence agencies Lawmakers were also quick to condemn the practice and sought more information A n astounding assault on the U S Constitution is how Sen Rand Paul R KY described the program Sen Jeff Merkley D OR called it an outrageous breach of Americans privacy Sen Ron Wyden D OR called on the White House to make additional details about the NSA s surveillance of communications public I think that they have an obligation to respond immediately said Wyden Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial Action Task Force FATF Financial Access Peacebuilding

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/lawmakers-activists_slam_NSA_phone_spying (2016-02-16)
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  • UPDATE: Court Rules Anti-War Activists Lawsuit Can Continue | Charity & Security Network
    s internal investigation of a former military analyst who spied on a Washington state anti war group Obtained through a Freedom of Information Act FOIA request the documents show John Jacob Towery a former civilian intelligence specialist at Joint Base Lewis McChord spied on members of the Olympia Port Militarization Resistance OPMR for two years and shared this information with local law enforcement The same day an ACLU report documented government violations of limits on their surveillance powers Lawyers for OPMR allege Towry s military superiors knew about his undercover activities and had violated a federal law that prohibits military personnel from engaging in domestic law enforcement The redacted documents provide some details about the Army s internal investigation of the incident but not the outcome of the inquiry or recommendations made by an investigating officer One document dated March 2 2009 shows Army officials upset with Tacoma police for publicly releasing documents about Towry in response to a FOIA request Another document released suggested the activities alleged by the Olympia activist were done in support of local police departments as a confidential informant source and not as a member of the Army An attorney for OPMR Larry Hildes said We need to make sure that this doesn t happen again In a free society you need to be able to speak out and dissent from the government policy without the government figuring out ways to get retribution and retaliation against you by spying on you Internal Reports Indicate Repeated FISA Violations The federal government has violated the legal constraints on surveillance of U S citizens according to documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union ACLU on Dec 2 2010 The heavily redacted 900 pages of documents were obtained through a FOIA lawsuit for records about surveillance operations related

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Court_Rules_Anti-War_Activists_Lawsuit_Can_Continue (2016-02-16)
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  • No Appeal to Supreme Court in Al-Haramain/Bush-Era Wiretapping Case | Charity & Security Network
    will not appeal to the Supreme Court attorneys in the case said on Jan 3 2013 in order to limit the precedent set to the Ninth Circuit The August 2012 ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court s decision from 2010 in which two American attorneys working on behalf of the now defunct al Haramain Islamic Foundation AHIF were awarded damages and legal fees after successfully proving they were spied on by the government without warrants Upheld in December the August 2012 ruling reversed the first and only case that successfully challenged President George W Bush s once secret Terrorist Surveillance Program Click here for Al Haramain v Bush case summary Jon Eisenberg the attorney for the two lawyers said It would be a risky endeavor to take this case to this Supreme Court The appellate court s decision remains binding only in areas covered by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which includes Alaska Arizona California Hawaii Idaho Montana Nevada Oregon and Washington Had the Supreme Court ruled against Eisenberg Wired reports a nationwide precedent would be set In December 2010 a federal judge had ordered the government to pay nearly 2 5 million in legal fees and damages for unlawful surveillance of phone calls between leaders of the now defunct AHIF and its attorneys The case had been the only successful challenge to Bush era illegal surveillance programs because AHIF and its lawyers were able to show they had been subjected to unwarranted surveillance by using public records and statements Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial Action Task Force FATF Financial Access Peacebuilding Countering Violent Extremism Click Here For More Issues Solutions Principles to Guide Solutions Models to Draw On Proposed Solutions News The latest headlines Resources Litigation Analysis Background Legislation Studies Reports

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/No_Appeal_Al-Haramain/Bush-Era_Wiretapping_Case (2016-02-16)
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