Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

FISA judge condemns the court

Posted by Charles II on July 9, 2013

Dan Roberts, The Guardian:

A former federal judge who granted government surveillance requests has broken ranks to criticise the system of secret courts as unfit for purpose in the wake of recent revelations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

James Robertson, who retired from the District of Columbia circuit in 2010, was one of a select group of judges who presided over the so-called Fisa courts, set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which are intended to provide legal oversight and protect against unnecessary privacy intrusions.

But he says he was shocked to hear of recent changes to allow more sweeping authorisations of programmes such as the gathering of US phone records, and called for a reform of the system to allow counter-arguments to be heard.

Nothing new to see here, folks. Move along.

2 Responses to “FISA judge condemns the court”

  1. jo6pac said

    I’m truly glad he didn’t get his way about counter arguments that surely would have gummed up works;)

  2. “Nothing new to see here, folks. Move along.”

    Nothing new to those of us who remember Carnivore and Magic Lantern — or for that matter the Comstock Act, which though weakened has never been fully repealed (and neither have all of its copycats at the state levels) and which allows for the opening of mail suspected to contain “pornography”, whatever that means nowadays. Even George Washington worried (with reason, according to his latest biographer Ron Chernow) that his own mail was being opened and read. And we are pikers compared to many European nations, both historically and currently, as Snowden’s GCHQ stories remind us. The American third-party advocates who want us to think that all NSA activity started on January 21, 2009 are being more than a touch deceptive.

    The main difference between spying then and spying now is not the efforts by various governments to exert total control over communiciations, but that there’s more of a will to do something about it in spite of the constantly-promoted War on Terror, if for no other reason than the fear that it might impede commerce. Persons with somewhat more noble reasons, such as John Conyers and Justin Amash, are better-positioned than at any time since 9/11 to get things like their LIBERT-E Act passed.

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