The Surveillance State: Twitter Lawsuit and FISC Court Updates


A federal judge delivered a blow Monday to Twitter’s drive to release more details on surveillance orders it receives, but the tech firm won a chance to try to reformulate its case.

U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Rogers said the government has the power to prohibit the release of classified information, barring claims Twitter made in a lawsuit filed two years ago challenging as unconstitutional the limits federal officials have placed on publication of some statistics about surveillance demands.

“The First Amendment does not permit a person subject to secrecy obligations to disclose classified national security information,” Rogers wrote, citing a 1980 Supreme Court case about a former CIA analyst publishing the names of CIA personnel overseas. “Twitter has conceded that the aggregate data is classified. In the absence of a challenge to the decisions classifying that information, Twitter’s Constitutional challenges simply do not allege viable claims.”

However, the Oakland, California-based judge’s order went on to essentially invite Twitter to re-file its case, incorporating a claim that government has not “properly classified” the statistics at issue.

Read the Remainder at Politico


U.S. spy court rejected zero surveillance orders in 2015

The court received 1,457 requests last year on behalf of the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for authority to intercept communications, including email and phone calls, according to a Justice Department memo sent to leaders of relevant congressional committees on Friday and seen by Reuters. The court did not reject any of the applications in whole or in part, the memo showed.

The total represented a slight uptick from 2014, when the court received 1,379 applications and rejected none.

The court, which acts behind closed doors, was established in 1978 to handle applications for surveillance warrants against foreign suspects by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies and grew more controversial after 2013 leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Read The Remainder at Reuters

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