Monday, June 01, 2015

PATRIOT ACT - Authority Update

COMMENT:  This highlights the misunderstanding of what metadata is.  In the past I worked for a company that made telephone equipment that collected metadata, so I KNOW what it is.  Metadata does NOT contain names or addresses, it contains ONLY phone numbers (which are owned by the phone carrier by the way) and date-time stamps needed to calculate the duration of a call.  Name and address information is kept by phone carrier on SEPARATE computer, a billing computer.  Access to a phone carrier's billing computer would require a warrant.

"‘Uncontroversial’ authorities at risk if Patriot Act provisions expire, says White House" PBS NewsHour 5/28/2015


SUMMARY:  Three U.S. intelligence tools are scheduled to expire Sunday, including the NSA's controversial bulk collection of Americans' phone metadata records.  President Obama has urged lawmakers to renew the Patriot Act programs, but so far the Senate has failed to compromise on their extension.  Judy Woodruff talks to Lisa Monaco, assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  This could prove to be a pivotal week for the future of both surveillance and privacy in the United States.  Three key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire, and so far there is no compromise in the U.S. Senate over whether or how to extend them.  That has the White House raising alarm bells.

President Obama on Tuesday pressed the Senate to renew Patriot Act surveillance programs that are set to expire late Sunday.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:  It’s necessary to keep the American people safe and secure.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Three different intelligence tools are scheduled to expire, roving wiretaps that allow monitoring of terror suspects’ calls even when they switch phones, the so-called lone wolf provision that permits surveillance of individuals not affiliated with terrorist organizations, and, finally, the National Security Agency’s controversial bulk collection of Americans’ telephone metadata records.  It’s authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

The Senate failed to pass a temporary extension Saturday.  Kentucky Republican Rand Paul was among those objecting to the metadata collection.

SEN. RAND PAUL, R-Ky.:  This is a debate about whether or not a warrant with a single name of a single company can be used to collect all the records, all the phone records of all of the people in our country with a single warrant.

"Are the Patriot Act provisions essential for fighting terrorism?" PBS NewsHour 5/28/2015

My answer, YES.


SUMMARY:  What will happen if Congress allows key portions of the Patriot Act to expire?  Judy Woodruff gets views from James Bamford, author of “The Shadow Factory,” and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey on what’s at stake, and whether the USA Freedom Act offers a better alternative.

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